'Praying a Lot': Newton Husband, Father to Be Deported to Guatemala - NECN
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'Praying a Lot': Newton Father to Be Deported to Guatemala

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    Newton Father to Be Deported to Guatemala

    The deadline is approaching for a Newton man set to be deported after decades in the U.S., leaving his wife and children behind.

    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018)

    Whatever hope Rigoberto Mendez had is fading.

    For months, he's been fighting the government's decision to deport him — a fight he's nearly lost.

    "Praying a lot," said Mendez, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts. "Trying to figure out what to do. Trying to put my mind together."

    His flight back to Guatemala on Friday divides the family he created here.

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    His youngest son, Max, is in elementary school.

    The oldest, Roberto, is a freshman at UMass Boston on a full scholarship.

    "Who is going to help his mother?" asked Mendez. "Who's going to help my younger kid? He needs to bring food to table."

    They're still not sure who will care for his wife, Imelda, who has brain cancer.

    Mendez has lived in America since 1991 at the age of 18. He left Guatemala seeking safety.

    In 2009, he was given an "order of removal" and then allowed to stay on one-year-terms.

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    His most recent request to stay was denied.

    "Everyone in my school has a father except me if he leaves this Friday morning," said Max. "It'll be emotional for me."

    Neighbors have written letters to try and keep him in the U.S.

    Senators, such as Elizabeth Warren, have worked to reverse the order.

    "This is a hard time with Donald Trump and his administration in charge," said Warren.

    But the soundbites on TV and letters have not changed Mendez's fate.

    "I hope there is a change from today to Friday morning," said Mendez.

    He is looking for change before his family is divided.

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