By David Brand
Queens Daily Eagle
Time is running out for Maspeth resident Edisson Barros, an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador who faces deportation today.
Barros is detained inside Hudson Correctional Facility in Kearny, NJ and is scheduled to be deported today. Barros’ family members, long with Council Member Francisco Moya, will try one last time to halt the deportation order during a special rally at City Hall at 10 a.m. today.
“[Barros] is a dedicated family man, working as a taxi driver to support his family,” Moya said in a letter to Judge Mirlande Talad on Wednesday. “Mr. Barros has established himself as an upstanding member of his Queens community. When a friend, relative or stranger is in need, Mr. Barros does not balk, he lends a hand. He embodies the best attributes America values in its people.”
Moya, who is also Ecuadorian, said the deportation order is especially cruel because it violates the spirit of Ecuadorian Heritage month, which is observed every August.
“The timing of this case triggers a cognitive dissonance for me. August is Ecuadorian Heritage month,” Moya said. “Over this past weekend, thousands of people came out to Northern Boulevard — despite the heat wave — to celebrate our annual Ecuadorian Independence Day parade. It strikes me that the Ecuadorians and immigrants from across the world not only celebrate their heritage and the freedom of their home countries on their respective independence days, but also the communities they’ve cultivated in their adoptive nations. Those days are celebrations of perseverance and of character forged in the crucible of difficult times.”
Barros’ daughter established a GoFundMe page in order to raise money so that she can continue to pay for college if her father is deported.
“My mom, sister and I are devastated and grieving his absence,” Eileen Barros wrote on the fundraiser page. “I feel a huge emptiness in my heart. My dad is being ripped away from our family.”
Barros said her father was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after an incident in which a motorist nearly ran over her family’s dog. The driver called the police, which resulted in ICE being alerted to Barros’ undocumented status, she said.
The fundraiser has so far generated about $2,700.
“I’m struggling economically and emotionally, but now I have to feed my family and bring food to the table,” she said. “[College graduation is] a dream that we both shared and that I will continue fighting for. I will become the second in my family to graduate from college and I will dedicate my degree to him.”