Father Of Leukemia Patient Who Faced Deportation Granted Stay, Work Permit
PHOENIX, Arizona - The father of a 5-year-old boy battling cancer has been fighting to stay in this country. Jesus Berrones had taken refuge inside a Phoenix church to evade deportation by federal immigration authorities.
On Monday, cheering erupted from inside the house of worship as Berrones' attorney said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had granted a stay and a one-year work permit.
Earlier in the day, we sat with him as the deadline to turn himself in for deportation approached. We asked how Berrones was feeling, and he said he was "nervous, scared."
He was brought into the country as a toddler from Mexico. But Berrones' wife and their five children are all U.S. citizens. His 5-year-old son Jayden has leukemia, and Berrones sees his battle with ICE as a battle to care for his son.
"Sometimes when I see him I think he suffers a lot," Berrones said.
Berrones was caught with a fake driver's license and has been deported twice, in 2006 and 2010, but he snuck back into the U.S.
"I've been here since I was a little kid, so I feel like I'm from here," Berrones said. "I really don't want to be deported because I don't have life over there."
Pastor Ken Heintzelman has been standing between Berrones and immigration agents by providing sanctuary in his church.
"Here's a man who crossed the desert," Heintzelman said. "It took great risks in order to be unified with his family. He shouldn't be prosecuted."
Berrones' family is thrilled with Monday's decision, and he now plans to return home.