Via United We Dream
Just recently, Walter Gozzer, a 50-year-old husband and father, was deported after 30 years of living in Miami with his wife, teenage son and young daughter.
Walter arrived to the U.S. from Peru in 1989. The construction company he worked for so valued his work that in 2001 they offered to sponsor him for a visa, setting him on a pathway to citizenship so that he could permanently remain in the U.S. with his family. However, the company went bankrupt and the government denied his application for adjustment of status.
Meanwhile, his information remained in the hands of the government who could now track him down.
In 2016, the company Walter worked for opened under a new LLC. Walter asked his attorney to petition for his case to be reopened at the risk of being required to meet with ICE agents who would monitor him on a routine basis.
In mid-February, without warning and no changes to Walter’s case, ICE chose to arrest him during a routine check-in at the Miramar ICE Office and imprison him in the for-profit Krome detention camp, earning the detention camp money for over a month.
ICE deported Walter to Peru on March 21, 2019. The community is calling on the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen his case so that his family may be reunited.
See his petition here. See the fundraiser for his family here.
Lily Montalvan, wife of Walter Gozzer who spoke about her experience with The Guardian, said:
“I still can’t believe it happened. Every afternoon I look at the door expecting my husband to come home from work, ready to play with our daughter. I miss the evenings we’d spend at our favorite restaurants, I miss him grilling food for our friends and family, I miss him seeing him exercise at home.
“Our son has already missed many days of school. His counselor told us that his absences are understandable because he can’t concentrate and is in a lot of pain.
“Our son feels guilty. The morning before he was detained, Walter dropped our son off at school and his last words to him were “I don’t know what could happen to me. I could be detained and I need you to be strong.” It’s like he sensed it.
“We’ve lived here for decades. Fighting for Walter’s visa… we can’t believe it cost us our family. We miss him so much.”
LuzHilda Campos, Deportation Defense Manager, said:
“The steps that ICE took to detain Walter without warning and then hand him over to a for-profit detention camp is reflective of people’s experience with the deportation force. Too many folks are uprooted from their communities and torn apart from their families despite the fact that this is their home.
“The mission of ICE and Border Patrol is clear: detain, deport and purge. Walter’s story is not over and we need the community to demand he have a fair shot at justice. We urge the Immigration Board of Appeals reopen Walter’s case so that his family can once again be together.”