DELANO (AP) — The U.S. has deported a Mexican man who was sought in California earlier this year when immigration agents mistakenly followed his two relatives who sped away in their car and crashed, killing both and leaving six orphaned children.
United Farm Workers Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres said that immigration agents detained the children’s uncle, Celestino Hilario Garcia, on Wednesday in the San Joaquin Valley community of Delano, The Bakersfield Californian reported.
He was sought in March when his relatives Santos Hilario Garcia and Marcelina Garcia Profecto died after their SUV hit a utility pole and overturned. The couple’s children range in age from 8 to 18.
“Still grieving the tragic deaths of their farm worker parents ... the six children of Santos Hilario Garcia and Marcelina Garcia Profecto were dealt a new blow when ICE agents deliberately picked up their closest remaining family member, their uncle Celestino Hilario Garcia, at the Delano apartment building where both families live,” Torres said in a statement that noted he has a wife and four children of his own.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that the uncle had been in the United States illegally and was sent to Mexico.
The statement noted he had a long history that included U.S. authorities allowing him to voluntarily return to Mexico seven times between 2002 and 2009.
“In April 2009, an immigration judge issued him a final order of removal, and ICE removed him to Mexico twice, once in April 2009 and again in May 2009. He has three criminal convictions for driving under the influence,” ICE stated.
UFW Foundation spokeswoman Leydy Rangel said Thursday that the orphaned children still live together in the apartment complex where their uncle lived, but in a different unit. The oldest was trying to gain legal custody of her younger siblings, she said.