The family of a couple killed while fleeing Immigration and Customs Enforcement two months ago is reeling once again after one of the remaining patriarchs was deported this week.
The United Farm Workers Foundation says a case of mistaken identity by ICE has ultimately led to an undocumented couple’s death and now an uncle’s deportation, leaving 10 children without a father figure.
Celestino Hilario Garcia was heading to work in the grape fields early Wednesday morning when ICE officials detained him according to his wife, Lucy.
Lucy did not provide her last name out of fear.
ICE did not give any explanation as to why they were detaining Hilario Garcia that morning according to Lucy, as she watched in horror with her 3-year-old girl sitting on her lap.
Hilario Garcia was back in Mexico before the day was out.
“We know for certain this was targeting this family,” said Leydy Rangel with the United Farm Workers Foundation who explained Hilario Garcia is the brother of Santos Hilario Garcia.
Santos along with his wife Marcelina Garcia Porfecto were killed in a car crash in March as the two fled ICE.
“They were looking for Celestino that morning, it was out of confusion that they mistook Santos Hilario for Celestino,” said Rangel.
The couple who died in the crash left behind six children to their uncle, Celestino.
But with the uncle deported, the children’s futures are uncertain.
In a statement, ICE said Celestino Hilario was granted voluntary return to Mexico seven times between 2002, and 2009, and ICE deported him two more times in April and May of 2009.
ICE continued to say Hilario Garcia has three DUI convictions.
But for Lucy, she believes the system is unjust.
Lucy says Celestino simply wanted to provide a better future for his own four children.