ST. LOUIS, Missouri – Jose Garcia and his partner, Ana Ortiz, shuffled quietly into the warmth of a packed Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Ferguson.
Their older daughters, Julissa, 11, and Dana, 7, disappeared into the pews looking for friends. Garcia picked up 5-year-old Amanda and rocked her in his arms.
For more than a decade, Garcia attended Sunday Mass with his family. But this November morning was different.
The next day, he would board a flight with a one-way ticket to Mexico City.
He told his daughters that he needed to visit his mother in the city where he was born, and that he’d be back soon. The truth was he was being deported. He didn’t know if he’d ever return.
Under the Obama administration, immigration authorities allowed many unauthorized immigrants to stay in the United States with their families as long as they checked in regularly and didn’t break any laws. Now, advocates say, those who have spent years following the rules set out for them have become the easiest targets for deportation under the Trump administration.