September 1, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
81°F
test

Dad living in Elyria faces deportation

After the Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrived at this families' door for Padro Ramirez Hernandez, their lives have not been the same.  Stephanie Rodriguez, 16, Seleste Wisniewski, Jessica Pino, 21, Luis-Angel Hernandez, 5, and Juan Pino, 24, stand in the foyer of their Elyria home as they plan to fight for Padro's safe return.  Padro was moved to Geauga County Jail Wednesday, and they are praying he will not be deported Friday or the following Monday. Kristin Bauer

After the Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrived at this families’ door for Padro Ramirez Hernandez, their lives have not been the same. Stephanie Rodriguez, 16, Seleste Wisniewski, Jessica Pino, 21, Luis-Angel Hernandez, 5, and Juan Pino, 24, stand in the foyer of their Elyria home as they plan to fight for Padro’s safe return. Padro was moved to Geauga County Jail Wednesday, and they are praying he will not be deported Friday or the following Monday.
Kristin Bauer

ELYRIA — Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez, who lives in Elyria, is a lot of things to a lot of people.

He’s the 42-year-old husband to Seleste Wisniewski, a loving father to Jessica, Juan, Stephanie and Luis-Angel, and the primary caretaker for his family.

He is also one of the country’s thousands of undocumented immigrants. Because of that, he’s in the Geauga County Jail and in danger of deportation.

Hernandez has been in jail since July 6, when agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked him up and charged him with a felony count of illegal entry into the country after deportation.

He was first sent to a holding facility in Youngstown and has since been taken to Geauga County after a judge used discretion in dismissing the charge.
But agents were waiting for him again when he was released.

Now, his family is hoping for compassion and Hernandez’s return to Elyria. They have been told that just because the felony charges have been dropped doesn’t mean the father of four can stay.
“I need my husband home. He is our lifeline, and we are lost without him,” Wisniewski said from her West River Road South home.

Attorney David Leopold, a seasoned immigration attorney, said Hernandez’s case is not uncommon.
“This is an Elyria family, but there are families like this all over Elyria, Lorain County and America,” he said. “This American family is very typical of what you will find. This family is what is broken about immigration in this country.”

At last count, the Department of Homeland Security estimated there were more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

Federal immigration reform legislation talked about earlier this year has stalled in the Republican-led House of Representative, leaving thousands of families in limbo.

Leopold filed a motion of stay Wednesday believing, based on federal policies, that Hernandez should be granted deferred action so that he can remain in the U.S.
He cited a June 2011 memo from ICE Director John Morton that details certain criteria the agency should use to allow for discretion in deportation cases including length of residence in the U.S., marital status to a U.S. citizen, whether the person is the parent of a U.S. citizen and/or the primary caretaker of a person with a mental or physical disability.
“Pedro is exactly the person we should want in this country,” Leopold said.

Leopold explained Hernandez’s story like this:
Henandez first came to this country from Mexico sometime before 2001. He doesn’t know exactly when because there is no paper trail documenting his illegal entry. Hernandez first popped up on law enforcement radar when he was accused of theft in 2001. The case was eventually dropped when it was learned Hernandez was not the culprit. During the arrest, he showed police a phony driver’s license. “Like a lot of undocumented workers do,” Leopold said.

It was enough to get him deported.

Within a year, Hernandez made the it back into the country. In 2004, he met Wisniewski, then a single mother of three caring for two young daughters and a son with severe cerebral palsy.

Looking back on those early days, Wisniewski smiled — Hernandez was nice, humble, but persistent, she said. They met at a party of a mutual friend.
“I told him he didn’t want to be with me. I had a lot going on,” she said. “But he just said ‘Let’s just go out and see how it goes.’”

Friendship turned into romance. Wisniewski knew Hernandez was a keeper for how he dealt with her son, who needs round-the-clock care.
“He never turned away from Juan. From the very beginning, he was there for all of us,” she said.

Stephanie, now 16, said Hernandez is her dad, but like so many other teenagers, he annoyed her sometimes.

“He would take my phone away at night and tell me to sleep or bug me until I would get up so I wouldn’t be late for band practice or school. He was just always there,” she said. “Now, I kinda miss him yelling at me. He is the glue that holds this family together.”

Hernandez’s recent troubles started in April. Leopold said.

He was pulled over by a Highway Patrol trooper for a missing license-plate light. A check of his background pulled up the decade’s old deportation order.
Hernandez was arrested and soon sent back to Mexico.

“We learned he was gone because another inmate in the jail called us to say they took him,” Stephanie said. “It was days before I talked to my dad again, and all he said was he was in a very dangerous part of Mexico and he was scared.”

Leopold said Hernandez would call his wife as much as he could and listen helplessly as she talked about how she was struggling. Five years ago, the couple had a child together, Luis-Angel.

On the advice of a lawyer who told her Hernandez’s quest for citizenship could be sped up if the couple legally married, Wisniewski said she went to Mexico and she and Hernandez were wed in a small ceremony in Acapulco. But it wasn’t enough. They were told it would be years before Hernandez could legally enter the country.

Wisniewski said her family didn’t have years. Hernandez walked back into the family’s Elyria home on June 25.

He was gone again less than two weeks later.

“Agents arrested him a block from his home with his son and stepdaughter in the car,” Leopold said. “She ran home to tell her mother her dad was gone. They were waiting for him.”

A petition on Americasvoiceonline.org has been set up in hopes of stopping Hernandez’s deportation.

ICE area spokesman Khaalid Walls did not return calls or emails asking for comment.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.

  • LookBackTwo

    Feel bad for the family as I would for any criminal’s family, but dad broke the law. Are we to “forgive” anyone who breaks the law just because they have a family?

    • brenda

      He’s not a criminal. He’s just a man that love’s his family and wants to take care of them ! You have father’s that have kids by women and cannot take care of them, at least he’s trying!!!

      • Pablo Jones

        A criminal is someone who breaks the law. He broke the law so therefore he is a criminal. Being a bad father unfortunately is not a crime, in the legal sense.

        If I robbed a bank it would be a crime. If I did it because I wanted to take care of my family would I not be a criminal?

        • therealjanedoe

          So if I role through a stop sign, or drive 67 in a 65, I’m a criminal? Please, there is little in the world that is black and white.

          • Pablo Jones

            Yes you are. That is why if you get caught you get a ticket and point on your license.

      • Joe Smith

        What part of felony did you misunderstand?

      • DC

        He is a criminal, he knowing and willingly broke the law when he illgegally entered the US not once but twice.

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    Illegal is illegal. And multiple violations to boot.

    • CryMeaRiver

      perhaps the wife should be arrested for aiding and abetting.

      “Wisniewski said her family didn’t have years” – well, thats too bad then, isnt it?

  • oldruss

    “Federal immigration reform legislation talked about earlier this year has stalled in the Republican-led House of Representative, leaving thousands of families in limbo.” – Lisa Roberson, Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, August 16, 2013.

    It’s always becomes a political football, doesn’t it?!

    Lisa Roberson has taken her talking points from MSNBC or from Anthony Giardini, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Lorain County. Such partisian politics are unhelpful, and Roberson’s politics have no place in this article. As a point of reference, during the first two years of President Obama’s first term, (2009-2011) the Democratic Party controlled not only the White House but also controlled both the Senate and the House of Representatives. No comprehensive immigration reform legislation was passed by the Democrats, but we did get ObamaCare.

    Bottom line, Hernandez-Ramirez is here in this country illegally, and apparently he has entered this country on more than one occassion illegally. This is a sad situation for his family, but nonetheless, one of his own making.

    • Mark B

      Come on , the CT is always Fair and UN-Biased..
      hahahahaha that is the joke of the day huh .

  • Pablo Jones

    Maybe if he truly wanted to be a member of the community and country he would have tried harder a lot sooner to become legal. But it seems no one cared about it until after he was deported.

    If America is such a bad place for deporting illegal immigrants how about those families go live in Mexico or their home countries and see how good things are there.

  • Bob Sweatt

    I have no sympathy for this man or his family. I am the son of an Irish immigrant who spent 5 years in this country doing everything she need to do to become a citizen.

    Why is it now that this guy gets put in jail all of a sudden he wants to do things legally. Should have thought about that back when he first came here illegal.

    Dumba$$

    • therealjanedoe

      Immigration law is not only complicated, it is expensive. And not only for the advice on an immigration attorney – to file the immigration forms.

      • Bob Sweatt

        And because it is that way it should be ok for anyone to come here illegally and live here tax free and all that good stuff?

      • CryMeaRiver

        i know exactly how long it takes and how expensive it is. one of my best friends went through the process to get his wife up here from mexico. took like 3 years, but shes now in the states with no chance of deportation.

        this dude not only came here illegally, when he was deported (twice) he came RIGHT back….illegally. i understand what it takes to do it right, but just because its hard, doesnt mean you just bypass it. he is here illegally, after multiple deportations. no sympathy from me.

        • therealjanedoe

          Actually it appears you don’t know “exactly how long…” Unless you are a US citizen you can be deported. Lawful permanent status first for 3 or 5 years depending on your status and then application for citizenship, then the time between filing and citizenship interview and then the time between interview and citizenship ceremony.

  • SoItIsJustMyOpinion

    I feel bad for the kids…but this is ridiculous. 11MILLION ILLEGALS in this country… don’t you get it? ILLEGALS..and sorry, but he broke the law, TWICE, and should be sent back, along with ALL OF THE REST…This is RUINING our country…taking OUR benefits…OUR jobs…and let me tell you, If this were reversed, and we were “caught” in Mexico, there would be NO discussion, you would be thrown in their jails and left to rot…so why is it that all of these ILLEGALS can keep getting away with this…it’s time to stop being so “nice” and send them all back!

  • stop ur whining

    give him tow choices. Take your illegal @%$ home or take a bullet to the brain. You do that with all the border jumpers my guess is that illegal immigration ends. America is no longer “give me your poor huddled masses” Now it should read “NO VACANCY!!!” If you want to come here, do it the right way.

    • Zen Grouch

      *give him tow choices.*

      …ahh, the wonders of spellcheck, the moron’s crutch.

      • therealjanedoe

        Right. Unless you want a tow to Mexico, but might be too long.

  • brenda

    Let the man take care of his family, they need him!! At least he wants to!

    • Zen Grouch

      Nobody said he can’t take his precious family with him back to the Motherland Mexico.

    • CryMeaRiver

      yeah, no. he is here ILLEGALLY. bye-bye, criminal.

  • Stan K

    How about the other side of the story,how about telling us how Pedro Hernandez willfully continued to break the law,appeared to have gotten caught up in some questionable charges and possibly failed to pay his share of taxes.Tell us what a scofflaw he is and how horrible of a person he really is.that would make up the other 50% of the truth this article is missing

  • ellisa

    Let me tell all of you people out there that is saying bad stuff about these people. this is my sister and you don’t know what she had to go threw if you would of heard RIGHT they did do the paper work there was NEW papers that had to be filed so get the fakes before you talk bad about any ones family. and there working on getting the right paper they were missing

    • Zen Grouch

      Oh… so it’s all just a big clerical error causing the ‘illegal’ all these unnecessary problems.

      That’s *different* then.

      Carry on.

    • Joe Smith

      We got the “fakes” either legal or not legal period.

  • albsdetector

    It looks like Seleste has four kids with three different fathers. I hope the dads are paying their child support and it is not the taxpayers supporting this brood.