Lance Cpl. Aspar Andres came hometo Kentucky on leave from his Marine base in Hawaii, expecting a quiet visitwith his parents and siblings before an expected deployment to Afghanistan in2011.
He didn't expect he'd bevisiting his father in the Boone County Jail in Northern Kentucky, where hisfather awaits deportation to his native Guatemala after being detained earlierthis month for being here illegally.
Andres and other advocatesacknowledge that his father, Juan Andres, 41, came here illegally more than 25years ago.
But they are urgingleniency, saying he's been a hard worker on Kentucky farms who with his wifehas raised Aspar and four other siblings, all born as citizens in the UnitedStates.
“It just doesn't makesense,” a uniformed Aspar Andres, 21, said at a news conference Mondayafternoon in the office of his father's attorney, Becca O'Neill.
“He taught me how to be ahard worker,” Aspar Andres said. “… He's been a good father to me.”
The crisis began when JuanAndres made a “naïve” mistake, O'Neill said.
On Dec. 9, Andresaccompanied a friend who did not speak much English to the U.S. Immigration andCustoms Enforcement office at the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse and Custom Housein Louisville, she said.
Intending to interpret forthe friend, Andres found himself asked for his own identification papers. Whenit became clear he was in the U.S. illegally, he was arrested. He is nowdetained at the Boone County Jail on behalf of federal authorities.
“He wasn't placed incustody because he committed a crime,” O'Neill said. “He was just naively inthe federal building.”
Immigration and CustomsEnforcement spokeswoman Gail Montenegro said she could not immediately commenton details on the case.
According to O'Neill, JuanAndres already has been deported once, in 1995, after he was arrested inGeorgia while driving fellow migrant farm workers who were here illegally.
Andres eventually made his wayback to the United States to reunite with his wife and children, she said.Because of the previous case, he is not entitled to a court review now, O'Neillsaid. But she is asking Immigration and Customs Enforcement to give “deferredaction” so he could at least present his case to its officials.
Given Aspar Andres' militarystatus, “he deserves to have somebody listen to our request,” O'Neill said. Shesaid she and Aspar Andres went to the Immigration and Customs Enforcementoffice on Monday but an official who had told them to come then wasn't there;she said no one else was able to talk to them.
Aspar Andres said he's thesecond oldest of five children ranging in age from 12 to 22. He said heenrolled in the Marines shortly before his graduation from Marion County HighSchool. He grew up mostly in Marion County, he said.
Aspar Andres said his fathertaught him farming skills and “was very proud of me” for joining the Marines.
Also supporting JuanAndres' case was Jennifer Franklin of Waddy, Ky. Her father, Vallard Goode, hasemployed Andres the past 14 years at his Casey County farm, raising tobacco andbeef.
Juan Andres has “workedvery, very, very hard for what he's got, and we send his son off to fight forhis country,” said Franklin. “He's going to be (deported) to a country he knowsnothing about. He has no home, he has nothing in Guatemala.”
She said Andres “dideverything from planting to harvesting” for her father.
Kentucky farms such as his,she said, depend on migrant laborers.
“When they look atdeporting large numbers of people like this, they don't understand you're goingto go to Kroger and there's not going to be food,” she said. “Because these arethe people who are doing this labor.”
O'Neill said immigrationofficials need to distinguish “when is it smart to enforce the law and when isit smart to be lenient.”
She said that with immigrationdetention facilities “filled to the brim, why do we need to worry aboutdeporting him (when there are others who) don't have a son waiting to bedeployed to Afghanistan?”
The U.S. removed a recordof more than 392,000 illegal aliens in fiscal year 2010 ending Sept. 30,according to a Department of Homeland Security statement.
Reporter Peter Smith can bereached at (502) 582-4469.