Illinois Congressman Fights Deportation of Gabino Sanchez, "Father and Working Man" Who Has Been In Country 13 Years, Has No Prior Criminal Record


Gabino Sanchez came from Mexico to the United States when he was 14 years old. For the next 13 years, he worked construction and landscaping jobs in South Carolina to support his wife and two children, who are legal U.S. citizens. Sanchez is not.

Sanchez had never been arrested until he was stopped for a traffic violation and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Sanchez did not have a driver's license, and police suspected he was in the country illegally.

"You're going to fill your jails with plenty of Gabinos," said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) when he visited ICE officials in Charleston yesterday to urge them to drop Sanchez's deportation proceedings. A new South Carolina law aimed at curbing illegal immigration goes into effect Jan. 1, pending a legal challenge by the U.S. Department of Justice. Gutierrez said he wanted to show "that the immigrant community does have a way to defend itself" and that federal policies exist that can protect immigrants from deportation if they have strong ties to the United States. He added that "deporting a father and working man is not in the best interest of our country."

"I got two boys," said Sanchez, "that are U.S. citizens. I got my wife. I worked all my life over here in this country."

Gutierrez also asked officials to review the case of Roger Rablero Martinez, 20, who was also stopped for a traffic violation and detained when he did not have a driver's license.

"My parents brought me here when I was 12," said Martinez. "I didn't want to come but they brought me." He, like Sanchez, has no prior criminal record.

"Cases like this," said Rep. Gutierrez, "show whether the Obama administration is serious about using deportation as a tool to remove serious criminals and not as a tool to split up American families."

Read more about the Justice Department's legal challenge to South Carolina's law here, Reason on immigration here, and Reason's infographic illustrating "America's absurd immigration waiting line," which includes virtually no legal path to citizenship for low-skilled workers, here.


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  1. If his wife is a US citizen, can’t he get a green card?

    1. No. He has to return to his country of origin and reapply from there.

      And, she will probably have to go with him, since if they live apart the ICE will probably conclude that it’s a sham marriage.

      1. quite the sham with two kids

      2. Will the family be allowed to live in Mexico while this gets straightened out?

        1. I’m sure they will; for all its faults, the Mexican government appears not have the socialistic view that more people = more mouths to feed that the US government has.

          1. LOL. It’s easy to have a liberal immigration policy when no one wants to come to your shithole of a country.

  2. “Cases like this,” said Rep. Gutierrez, “show whether the Obama administration is serious

    Learn to live with disappointment, Mister Gutierrez.

    1. the Obama administration is serious
      I looked up oxymoron; that phrase was the example cited.

  3. “show whether the Obama administration is serious about using deportation as a tool to remove serious criminals and not as a tool to split up American families.”

    He is using it to remove a criminal. He is here ILLEGALLY. Duh!

    1. It’s actually not a crime.…..ata_player

      1. Driving without a license is.

        1. Yes, and depending on which state you’re in that has absolutely nothing to do with immigration and even less to do with Ref. Repub’s argument.

    2. Key word “serious”.

    3. “My parents brought me here when I was 12,”

      What did you want him to do? He was a minor for the first 9 years he was here!

      1. His parents definitely victimized him. They should be prosecuted for that misconduct twoard their own child.

    4. civil NOT criminal law sherlock. try something moar than radio entertainment

    5. He is using it to remove a criminal
      that sentiment is why the Bachmann, Santorum, and hard right wing of the GOP is seen as the home of buffoonery. He didn’t sneak into the country; he was brought in, BY HIS PARENTS. At this point, he’s more American than anything else and prime evidence of why “round ’em all up” may read well on a bumper sticker but plays poorly as policy.

      There has to be a process through which folks like this have some sort of interim status on the path to citizenship. They don’t get citizenship instantly, but clearly they want to contribute to society.

      1. Illegal aliens and the children they victimized for personal profit must get in the back of the line behind those who have respected us and our laws, and have waited patiently in their countries to come here.

        Only after the victims of illegal aliens have been all addressed fairly do we properly consider whether to admit their victimizers here.

        1. You mean this line?

          “…must get in the back of the line behind those who have RESPECTED US and OUR laws…”

          Stupid collectivism is stupid.

          How dare those illegals disrespect us coming here looking for work and renting property from other individuals! The NERVE!

  4. Now this is a great person to have a showdown over. Sounds like a model citizen.

  5. So, at age 12 he knew that he was committing a crime.

    And at no point over the next 18 years did he do anything to follow the law.

    Since he does not have a driver’s license, can we assume that he has been driving without one since he was 16?

    Paid taxes? Probably not before he married since no social security number. After the wedding? What SSN did his wife use on the return? Did she participate in identify theft?

    I applaud his work ethic. In that he is certainly better than the ows.

    But even though he hadn’t been caught for 18 years doesn’t mean that he should be allowed to not follow the law.

    I mean, who does he think he is, a politician?

    1. I’m sure if you’d been in his shoes, as soon as you turned 18, you would have gone to Mexico.

      1. and these wingnut laws will also drive the SC farming, restaraunt, hotel, & construction sectors into the dumpster just like AL & GA…where the wingnutz are frantically trying to save these sectors before they’re voted out.

        1. those sectors prey on a captive labor market by paying below market wages. I have four grown children; not a single one ever worked for minimum. Work has value and employers know they can undercut the market when the pool of labor has no recourse.

          1. Bull…shit. Those employers aren’t under cuttting the market. The goverment is establishing an artificially high wage standard effectively chopping those businesses off at the knees. Free market principals still apply even with illegals. If one company is willing to pay more than another guess what, the illegals will move to the company that pays more. The whole reporting to ICE thing is over blown since the owner is himself in violation of immigration laws if he has at any point employed an illegal.

            1. of course, they’re undercutting. Please. They pay $5 an hour to illegals. McDonald’s and grocery stores routinely pay teenagers $8 an hour and up.

              I have never liked the minimum wage but it’s in place. Those hiring illegals figured out a work around that ultimately harms low-skilled natives.

              1. It simply isn’t true that illegal immigrants are averaging $5/hr. At least not here in AZ and particularly in the construction industry. Hell, a day laborer picked up off the sidewalk generally makes $10+ an hour and I doubt very much that the situation here in AZ is any different than the rest of the country.

                1. Same here in Texas. I frequently pick up guys from the day labor center when doing any labor-intensive jobs around the yard or home (I don’t have any kids, let alone teenage sons, to help out), and I always wind up paying them at least $10/hr, plus I spring for lunch and cold beers. Cheap beer…but beer, nonetheless.

    2. But even though he hadn’t been caught for 18 years doesn’t mean that he should be allowed to not follow the law.

      The law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of an individual.

  6. Raise the number of diversity visas to 1 million per year and make them available to people from all countries.

    1. Except Chad… I remember all the problems they caused us in the 2000 presidential election!

  7. Two and a half months ago, I left the US after living there for 16 years because my visa didn’t get renewed. Until then, I was just as model a citizen as Mr. Sanchez (with the exception of a wife and kid – I didn’t want to get married until I had some certainty I’d be able to stay permanently). So from a purely personal perspective, I have absolutely no sympathy for Mr. Sanchez.

    1. We’re you brought over when you were 12 years old?

      1. The crime committed by illegal aliens bringing their children here is properly laid at their doorstep. They have victimized everyone for personal profit, including their own children. If you want to prosecute them for that victimization, I have no problem with that.

        I do have a problem rewarding predators over their victims.

        1. Oh, this is such a stupid effing argument. Yes, parents are “victimizing” their children by trying to give them a better life and escape drug mafia violence.

          Just for equivalency, maybe people like you should get the death penalty every time you go 1 mph over the speed limit. After all, “It’s the law!” and you’re “victimizing” other drivers.

  8. So for 13 years, he never pursued any sort of legal residency, married and had kids, but is now a victim?

    I know our immigration system is fucked up but you either have to work with the system in place or accept the risks of being an illegal.

    1. “The system” is broken.

    2. Sounds like he’s living peacefully among his neighbors and some thugs with guns want to kidnap him and exile him thousands of miles away from his home to me.

    3. Do you know how many visas we give to Mexicans? I don’t, but I bet it’s pretty low. If that is the case, how exactly is he supposed to get one?

  9. It seems ‘not right’ that this guy would be separated from his US-citizen-family. Having said that, why is Gutierrez, a rep from Illinois, spending his time representing someone who lives in SC?

    1. Gutierrez is the hispanic Jesse Jackson, the most dangerous place in the work is between him an a camera.

      1. I don’t think Gutierrez ever made a commitment to anyone to stop caring about the world outside his district.

    2. An even better question is why our “representatives” are selected by district? I’m certainly better represented by Ron Paul than I am by my district’s “representative”. And there would be many more Ron Pauls in the House if we weren’t all gerrymandered into districts where only a Republican or Democrat can win.

      After the House gets fixed to be individual representation rather than district representation, the Senate should be fixed back to be chosen by state governments too.

  10. “You’re going to fill your jails with plenty of Gabinos,” said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez…

    Good. It’s about time we did something about all those Italian immigrants.

    1. Not to mention there are too many Paddys working on them railways.

  11. RE: alt-text


    goddamn illegal alt-text

  12. Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich would be there defending Mr. Sanchez as well, if he had waited 12 more years before getting his traffic ticket.

  13. Parading sob stories is a standard tactic used by those wanting to base policy on emotion instead of the rule of law. Spare me the river of tears.

    I wonder if Sanchez really has been in the U.S. for the last 13 years? Will any “journalist” ever even try to check that basic “fact”? Not likely.

    1. Teh law is teh law. That is all.

    2. What does that mean to “base policy on the rule of law”?

    3. Again, I hope people like you are willing to submit to the death penalty for driving one mile per hour over the speed limit. Let he who hath not broken a law throw the first stone.

      Moreover, what about the Jews resisting Nazi rule of law during WWII or blacks escaping from slavery? You and your legal authoritarian ilk apologize for the worst elements of human history, and you probably don’t even realize it.

      1. Again, I hope people like you are willing to submit to the death penalty for driving one mile per hour over the speed limit.

        I see. So anyone who believes in the rule of law must support the death penalty for every offense.

        If you think the immigration laws rise to the level of the Jewish Codes or the fugitive slave laws, make that case. Otherwise you are deemed to be overly melodramatic.

        1. If rule of law is supposed to be the absolute basis for policy enforcement, and the law says that the death penalty is punishment for breaking any law, advocates for absolutist rule of law must accept such a punishment unquestioningly. Otherwise, you are a hypocrite and admit that there are gray areas, and that laws and law enforcers can be wrong. If the laws are wrong, rule of law loses legitimacy.

          Why is our absurd immigration system specifically something advocates call for absolute state enforcement on, yet not absurd health care mandates, absurd tax code enforcements, speeding, etc?

          I suspect it’s because most are fucking old school nativists wrapping themselves in a politically correct legal blanket so they appear socially and politically acceptable. I hate pulling that card, but there’s no other explanation that has ever struck me as genuine.

          If the laws are authoritarian and abusive, demanding rule of law is merely apologism for tyranny against someone else.

  14. I say we tell anyone that wants in to apply for a 2 year visa and they will get it. If they break the law in any serious way for that two year period they get sent back. If not then they can apply for citizenship or some kind of extended work visa.

  15. The law is the law. We are either a nations of law or not. He goes back. Given him special consideration to come back but he must go back. If we do not follow the law here, why bother with any law. I can think of several I can do without….tax laws, speed limiit laws, and that’s a nice car you got there….hand it over…..

    1. Seriously?

      1. “The law is the law.”

        Dumbest. Argument. Ever.

      2. That federal law was unconstitutional and thus null and void.

        1. That makes us feel good. We’re back under our master’s rule, but at least the law that got us here was ruled unconstitutional.

    2. You heard it here first, folks. If we don’t follow every law, we might as well not follow any law.

      That’s why civilization collapsed when we stopped enforcing all those dumb laws that are still on the books that you read about, like tying elephants to fire hydrants and things of that nature. Because all law is exactly the same, and not enforcing every single one of them means not enforcing any of them.

    3. Let he who hath not broken a law throw the first stone.

      1. I’ve never broken a law that has deportation as a consequence.

        1. Have you received the maximum penalty for every other law you ever broke? If you just weren’t caught, why haven’t you turned yourself in?

  16. Come in the country legally.

  17. small documentary “Gracias Gabino” The Gabino Sanchez Story

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