Isaiah, Aidan, Jocelyn, Evelyn and Alex Elizarraraz stand alongside their parents, Kristin Glauner and Cesar Mauricio Elizarraraz (in blue shirt) outside their home in Crystal Lake. | Camilla Forte / Borderless Magazine
President Joe Biden and Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently changed immigration policies to better protect undocumented families. But that’s come too late for this father of five.
Summer vacation for the Elizarraraz family: It’s a sunny afternoon, and siblings Evelyn, 4, Alex, 6, and Jocelyn, 11, splash each other in their backyard kiddie pool in Crystal Lake. Older brothers Aidan, 16, and Isaiah, 19, beat the heat inside. Their mother, Kristin Glauner, and uncle, Arturo Elizarraraz, relax in the living room.
From the family photos on the refrigerator to the chalk drawings in the driveway, the family scene is exactly what you might expect on a summer day.
Except one person is missing: Dad.
When Elizarraraz’s phone rings, his heart skips a beat. It’s a call from the McHenry County Jail. His brother — Kristin’s fiancé and the father of her five children — is on the line. And he could be deported at any moment.
Cesar Mauricio Elizarraraz, a Mexico-born, longtime Crystal Lake resident, had been in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and detained at the McHenry County Jail since December 2019.
In late May, the 40-year-old was denied an emergency stay of removal. The judge didn’t give a reason for the denial, leaving the family wondering whether it was because of a criminal conviction for a fight after Elizarraraz faced racial slurs.
“Teenagers make mistakes,” Glauner said. “I’ve made mistakes. Everybody’s made mistakes. Me being a citizen, my mistakes aren’t coming back to haunt me. Him? Not. His mistakes have come back to haunt him. But he should not be defined for those mistakes he made over 20 years ago.”
Elizarraraz’s case comes at a time when legislators have made national and statewide changes to immigration enforcement policies in the months since President Donald Trump left office.
President Joe Biden promised to reset immigration policy for the United States the day he took office. In a Feb. 4 email to ICE officials, then-acting ICE director Tae Johnson said people with criminal convictions more than a decade old generally would not be prioritized for deportation.
The city of Chicago passed an updated sanctuary city ordinance in February banning local police and other agencies from working with ICE.
At the state level, a bill that would effectively close all detention centers in Illinois and limit the way law enforcement interacts with ICE is expected to be signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
For Illinois immigrants like Elizarraraz, though, these changes might be too late.
Camilla Forte / Borderless Magazine
A photograph of Cesar Mauricio Elizarraraz and his fiancé Kristen Glauner hangs on their refrigerator with art made by their kids in their Crystal Lake home.
Cesar Mauricio Elizarraraz came to the United States from Mexico in 1993 as a 13-year-old with his …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun Times
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