Guatemala: October 2008 Archives
(Peter Pereira / New Bedford Standard Times)
When Ricardo Gomez Garcia was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New Bedford, it served as his death sentence. For one of the factory managers charged in the raid, Gloria Melo, it ended in a $500 fine.
Garcia's story is one of the most heartbreaking stories I know. He was picked up in the now infamous New Bedford raid, resulting in his separation from his wife and his U.S. citizen autistic son. He fought desperately to stay in the U.S. and be reunited with them. When he was finally deported after six months of detention, he had his mother in Guatemala sell her house for $5000 so he could pay a coyote to return to the U.S.
Garcia's family in Guatemala reported he wasn't feeling well and they urged him to stay but he left anyways. He arrived in New Bedford on Oct. 28. He was able to spend 12 hours with his wife and his son before he died. His throat closed up. Today is the anniversary of his death. Garcia fought for seventh months and 26 days to be reunited with his family. 12 hours is more than most unauthorized migrant families get. Garcia's story is an epic tale of love and suffering.
Garcia died for the "crime" of casting off the chains he was born into and pursuing his happiness in another country. Almost exactly one year later, the Associated Press is reported that two of the factory managers charged in the New Bedford raid won't even see the inside of a prison cell.