Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) was so moved by the story of Jorge Garcia, a 39-year-old man deported to Mexico this week after living most of his life in the U.S., that she plans to bring his wife Cindy Garcia as her plus-one guest to the 2018 State of the Union address.
“This week, America watched in horror as Jorge Garcia, a father of two and husband to an American citizen, who was brought to this country at 10 years old and has never received so much as a traffic ticket, was torn from his family and the only home he knows,” Dingell said in a statement on Thursday.
“Jorge’s wife Cindy has shown incredible resilience and courage in the face of these impossible circumstances,” Dingell continued. “I am honored that she will join me at the State of the Union to be a voice for the hundreds of thousands of aspiring Americans who are part of the fabric of our communities, and who deserve a pathway to legal status in the country they call home.”
Garcia, who lived with his family in the Detroit area, received temporary extensions during President Barack Obama’s administration that allowed him to avert a deportation order from 2009, according to the Detroit Free Press. Immigration and Customs Enforcement renewed the order in November. Dingell said she asked ICE to extend the order until Jan. 15, allowing Garcia to spend the holidays with his family.
Garcia’s attorney, Mayra Miles, is petitioning to reunite him with his family, she told HuffPost. The process typically takes about a year, although Garcia may encounter difficulties because he didn’t leave the U.S. voluntarily.