Facing imminent deportation, Arizona dad of five-year-old boy with cancer goes into sanctuary

Jayden is only five years old, but already a large portion of his life has been spent at Phoenix Children’s Hospital undergoing chemotherapy to treat the rare form of leukemia he was diagnosed with in 2016. Because his mom, Sonia, is pregnant with his new little brother or sister and can’t physically handle some of the toxic pills herself, his dad Jesus helps him take his medicine. Jayden still has two more years of treatment to complete and getting well should be the only thing this family needs to worry over, except the U.S. government is trying to tear Jayden’s dad from him and deport him to a country he hasn’t been to since he was a toddler:

Berrones, a furniture upholsterer and air conditioning maintenance worker, lives in Phoenix and has been in the United States since he was about 18 months old, [attorney Garrett] Wilkes told The Arizona Republic.

Federal immigration authorities want to reinstate a deportation order despite the stress his deportation would put the man’s young family, including a 5-year-old boy receiving intensive chemotherapy for a rare form of leukemia, Wilkes said.

Berrones has five children, all U.S. citizens including two from a previous relationship and three with his wife, Sonia Garcia, 24. She is a U.S. citizen, and pregnant, Wilkes said.

Berrones first fell onto Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) radar in 2006 for driving with a fake driver’s license and deported to Mexico. Desperate to reunite with his family, Berrones twice reentered the U.S. without permission. When he again faced deportation in 2016, he was able to get a stay of deportation based on humanitarian factors—Jayden’s illness—and was granted a work permit. But following Donald Trump’s inauguration, Berrones was told during an ICE meeting in June that he would need to check in more frequently. By December, he was told to prepare for deportation.

“It would be catastrophic in every literal and emotional sense of the word” if Berrones was torn from his family, said Wilkes. “This is not just a man who is a husband and a father, he is an example to these kids.”