CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez made a special stop in Charleston Wednesday. He met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in private about an undocumented South Carolina man.
"He's a good man," Gabino Sanchez said. "He'll help me."
Sanchez is 27-years-old and has been living in Ridgeland for 13 years. He is married, has two young boys, and is the sole provider for the family. He was stopped by police and that's when he was turned in to immigration authorities. Now, Sanchez is depending on Gutierrez to make sure he is not deported.
"I got two boys that are U.S. citizens. I got my wife. I worked all my life over here in this country."
Gutierrez said Sanchez meets the criteria of someone who should be an exception to the Department of Homeland Security's deportation rules. He also decided to take on another case, a 20 year-old Ladson man, Roger Rablero Martinez.
"My parents brought me here when I was 12. I didn't want to come but they brought me," Martinez said.
Gutierrez said these men don't have criminal backgrounds. He is asking that their deportation cases be closed and is encouraging ICE and immigration courts to use their enforcement resources on higher priority targets.
"Some people are here doing bad things," Martinez said. "They might be selling drugs doing all kinds of stuff. I think those people should go back."
Gutierrez hopes to show South Carolinians that there are federal policies in place to protect those with strong ties to this country from deportation.
South Carolina's immigration law is set to go into effect January 1st. Currently, the law is the focus of a legal dispute between federal and state governments.