MESILLA PARK – Surrounded by dozens of supporters and his two sons, Jorge Taborda set aside fear as he shared an emotional story that many had not heard until Saturday.
Taborda, speaking publicly for the first time since immigration authorities arrested his wife and oldest son last month in Las Cruces, said he, too, was targeted by agents on May 9.
But, unlike his wife and son, Taborda found refuge at a Catholic church in Las Cruces, and has since managed to avoid the same fate as his wife, Francia Elena Benitez-Castaño, who was deported to her native Colombia on June 7 after being detained for about month in El Paso by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Before the arrests, which drew widespread criticism, the family had lived in Las Cruces for nearly two decades. In 1998, Taborda, Benitez-Castaño and their 4-year-old son, Jefferson, journeyed to the United States on visas, seeking to escape the violence of Colombia. They first arrived in Miami and then made their way to El Paso before relocating to Las Cruces.
In the years that followed, the family grew and thrived.
Taborda, a computer technician, and Benitez-Castaño, a housekeeper, were both self-employed, and they had a second son, Steven. Last year, Jefferson graduated from New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Four years after arriving in Las Cruces, Taborda, Benitez-Castaño and Jefferson received deportation orders when their application for asylum was denied by an immigration judge. But they continued to live in Las Cruces, building lives connected to their faith, church and community.
Like most people in their situation, they lived without much fear – until this year. Their worries of being deported began to heighten soon after Donald Trump was sworn in as president in January. The Trump administration began an immediate crackdown on the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally, targeting not just those with criminal backgrounds but also those with clean records.
By Carlos Andres López for Las Cruces Sun-News
Read Full Article and Video HERE