The family of an illegal immigrant who has lived in Oklahoma for the past 10 years, is fighting to keep him here. But they say, the system is failing them.
Didier Pineda owns his own home. He works hard to support his family. He is a loving father to his disabled stepson. He always pays his taxes on time and he's never been in trouble with the law.
But for more than 70 days, Didier Pineda has been in a detention center in Okmulgee after he was arrested while checking in with ICE. He’s lived in Tuttle for 10 years, after being deported once in 2006 when he was 20-years-old.
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Didier had a hearing this week in Dallas. His wife and their immigration attorney were in the courthouse waiting for it to start when they found out it was changed to another time in another courtroom. The hearing was held without Pineda’s attorney present.
"Whether he's denied or not denied that's not the point,” his wife, Melisa Pineda said. “The point is we deserved a fair trial. And we didn’t get a fair trial. That’s what we waited 73 days to get."
The couple’s immigration attorney, said this is a first for him.
“I've had continuances at the last moment, but I've never had another judge assigned and actually conduct a hearing in my absence,” he said.
Didier’s family says he was denied due process.
"It's very clear. The supreme court says they have a right to due process and of course there was no process here,” said Winningham.
"This was dishonest. And wrong,” Mrs. Pineta added. “Even though he is a detainee he still has rights."
Pineda’s attorney plans to file for another hearing. But time could be running out. Didier could be sent back to Honduras any day.
"The real danger is Ice will deport him before we can get anything done,” said Winningham. "It could have already happened today. And here again we don't know how quick we can get a hearing."
"What's normal about seeing your husband or your father behind glass?” Mrs. Pineda added, “And not being able to touch him. Kiss him. Love him. What's normal about that?"
News 9 reached out to the Immigration Court in Dallas. No one has responded to our request for comment.