Byron Ezequiel is an 8 year old Mayan Guatemalan boy who has been in detention for 5 months. His father, Pablo Domingo Juan was deported without him shortly after their separation in May of 2018. We are in the process of gaining Byron Ezequiel’s release and will personally return him to his family in Guatemala and seek funds to cover the expenses of his reunification with his family.
Byron and his dad crossed the border through McAllen Texas on May 23. They spent the night in a frigid holding cell and by 9:00 am ICE officers came to take the child. They asked his dad, Pablo to turn the child to them but Byron clung to his dad. The officers told Pablo to pull away from Byron so they could take the child or they were going to force Byron away from him. Pablo asked for the opportunity to talk to his son to explain that he needed to go with the officers but he was not given that opportunity; the officials took Byron away from Pablo forcefully.
Pablo spent a week in the frigid cell before being deported to Guatemala. He was asked to sign some papers and when he asked what the papers were for, he was told they were to reunify him with Byron. Pablo made clear that he did not want to leave without his son and just before boarding the plane he was told that his son was already in the plane. Once he boarded and realized that Byron was not there, Pablo and the other fathers aboard were told that their children were going to be deported a week later. The explanation was that the children could not travel with them because it was not a good sight for the children to see their parents in chains. He was told to go to the Ministry or Foreign Affairs in Guatemala but when he got there, he was told that they did not have any information.
On June 4, Byron was connected by phone to his parents for the first time. He thought that his dad was still in the United States and when he was told that his had been deported, he did not take it well. He cried and asked his dad why he had abandoned him in the United States. He begged his dad to go back and get him as soon as possible. Byron had to wait 2 weeks before he was able to call his parents again. When Byron spoke with his parents, he did not engage and he limited his answers to a simple “yes” or “no”. Byron’s family consists of his father Pablo Domingo Juan, his mother Fabiana Jose and his 12-year-old sister parents and one older sister Jessica Jaqueline.
Pablo decided to travel to the United States in search of an opportunity to provide a better future for his family. He works as a farmer tending other people’s plots of land. He makes Q30-Q35 (less than $5) a day and work is sporadic. He has to go out and offer his services to land owners to be hired for the day or for a couple of days. During coffee harvest, Juan travels to other parts of the country for periods of 3 or 4 months because the harvest offers steady work for that period of time. This is the life of most Mayan farmers in Guatemala; work is sporadic, they have absolutely no benefits and the money they make is barely enough to feed the family.
We are asking for your help and generosity to raise $5,000 to aid in covering the cost of our release of Byron, an 8 year old Guatemalan boy from a remote village in San Pedro Soloma, Huehuetenango.