Former Erwin High Student deported to Guatemala
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- "It was the morning of June the 1st at eight o'clock in the morning, and he was leaving his home," said Julie Wilson, with the Asheville Latino advocacy group, Defensa Comunitaria. She's met Elmer Reynoso's family, including his two-month-old son Christopher.
"He was driving away when he was pulled over. He was taken to the Forsyth County Jail in Winston-Salem."
Friends say Reynoso attended Erwin High but dropped out last year due to difficulty getting to school, and also because his girlfriend became pregnant and he had to go to work.
Wilson said Reynoso fled his country of Guatemala at the age of 16. Now 18, Reynoso is being deported back to Guatemala.
"His father was very abusive and there was also gang violence where he was from," Wilson said.
His arrest is part of what Bruno Hinojosa, with the Latino advocacy group CIMA, said is a North Carolina sweep.
"The Obama administration is coming after youth and mothers who have come to the country in 2014 because they were fleeing the violence. so for me personally it's a matter of humanity," said Hinojosa.
He and Wilson are directing anyone moved by Reynoso's story to contact Senator Richard Burr's office.
"Immigration is an issue of rhetoric among politicians," Wilson said. "And I hope that people when they see Elmer with his son, Christopher, I hope it puts a face on this issue. We're not talking about criminals or terrorists. We're talking about human beings who only left their countries because they are fleeing violence."
Immigration officials confirmed Reynoso's arrest was part of national immigration enforcement to remove individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. But the spokesman did not elaborate on Reynoso's case.