GRANGER, Indiana -- A restaurant owner who came to the U.S. from Mexico 19 years ago is scheduled to be deported to Mexico Friday, weeks after a routine check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials landed him in detention.
Roberto Beristain, a father of four, is the owner of Eddie’s Steak Shed in Granger, Indiana, where he lived with his wife Helen and their American-born children, CBS affiliate WSBT reports.
Helen Beristain told local media she voted for President Trump and supported his immigration policy directing federal law enforcement to step up deportation of undocumented immigrants. The order, signed days after Mr. Trump took office, has led to immigration raids across the country that have spread fear throughout immigrant communities.
However, Helen Beristain didn’t believe that policy should apply to someone like her husband, who owns a business, pays taxes and stays out of trouble with the law.
“We were for Mr. Trump,” she told the station. “We were very happy he became the president. Whatever he says, he is right. But, like he said, the good people have a chance to become citizens of the United States.”
Beristain was issued a deportation order after being stopped at the Canadian border on a visit to Niagara Falls in 2000, two years after he entered the country illegally from Mexico, his attorney Jason Flora told WSBT. He was ordered to leave the country within 60 days, but remained in the U.S. with his wife, who was pregnant at the time.
Helen said Roberto was later issued a removal order, which gave ICE the right to deport him. However, ICE officials allowed Beristain to remain in the country under supervision, requiring yearly check-ins with authorities. He obtained a driver’s license, work permit and was in the process of obtaining a visa, according to Flora.
“What they do is say, ‘OK, if you don’t commit any felonies or any crimes or anything bad — DUI, traffic tickets — then you can proceed with your documents to get your green card and to become a citizen in the United States,” Helen told WSBT. “And that’s what Roberto was doing.”
It was during one of his yearly check-ins in February that ICE took Beristain into custody. He was then detained in a county jail in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Helen and her children travel to see him every Sunday, when they are allowed to visit for 30 minutes.
Flora, the attorney, told WSBT he had filed paperwork contesting Beristain’s deportation. Beristain is scheduled to be deported Friday and could be banned from the U.S. for up to 10 years, the station reports.
“I understand when you’re a criminal and you do bad things, you shouldn’t be in the country,” Helen said. “But when you’re a good citizen and you support and you help and you pay taxes and you give jobs to people, you should be able to stay.”