Rep. Gibbs in Spotlight on Jesus Lara Deportation Case

Father, Children Pray Someone Powerful Will Save Their Family

Elsiy Lara, pretending to interview brother Eric (Jesus Lara, July 2017)

Local and national media continue to cover the pending deportation of Ohio father Jesus Lara Lopez, scheduled for Tuesday July 18. Jesus is a tax paying, hard working father of four US citizen children who have launched a campaign to keep him at home in Willard.

Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-7) has been in the spotlight on this case, as Jesus’ eldest son Eric launched a petition asking him for help. The petition was signed by over 600 of Rep. Gibbs’ constituents, and 35,000 other Americans, many of whom also called his office and urged him to be a champion for the children.

DailyKos writes:

Rep. Gibbs may feel like he doesn’t have to stand up for someone in his district because they lack legal status, but Lara’s four children are U.S. citizens, and just failing to even vocally condemn a family getting torn apart in Willard, Ohio is an abdication of his responsibilities.

After first offering “no comment” on the case to the press, Gibbs’ office told the Norwalk Reflector:

We do not comment on our office’s casework. On the issue of illegal immigration in general, Congressman Gibbs has always believed if someone entered the United States illegally, or overstayed their visa, they should be sent home and enter the United States legally.

This prompted the Cleveland Plain Dealer to test Gibbs’ advice with experts at the American Immigration Council. What did they learn?

[U]nder the current system, an undocumented worker in the United States has no options to become legal. He or she would have to leave the United States and start the process to enter the country from the beginning, a process that could take decades or may not even be possible.

This piece was also posted in the Norwalk Reflector.

The Sandusky Register politely put it this way: “It’s not clear why [Gibbs’ office] suggested Lopez Lara might be able to return to the United States after he’s deported since he’s been told that won’t be possible.”

Either Rep. Gibbs didn’t expect reporters to research the law, or he doesn’t understand it himself. But there is a simple solution at hand, one that the Norwalk Reflector, La Opinion, Univision.com, and Sandusky Register, and WFMJ in Youngstown have all been reporting on.

The federal government can approve Jesus’ stay of deportation, as they have done every year for the past five years, so that he can renew his work permit and continue providing for his family. Rep. Gibbs, as the family’s congressman and a member of the same political party as the president, has the power to ask them to do so.

As Lara’s attorney, David Leopold, put it in a piece reprinted by the Reflector:

ICE can put this matter to rest by granting Jesus’ stay of deportation, as they have for the past five years. It’s an easy solution that keeps a hardworking taxpayer and homeowner with his family…..
As Jesus’ children have made clear, their futures are inextricably linked to their father’s guiding hand. The Lara family’s U.S. representative, Rep. Bob Gibbs, Senator Rob Portman, and ICE should do everything in their power to keep this loving family together.

Of course there is also a need for Congress to update federal immigration law. This will take time, but it is absolutely necessary. Citing Jesus’ case, the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes in a powerful editorial:

The damage this helter-skelter policy is causing to our economy and to our reputation as a nation of immigrants should force Ohio lawmakers to stand up and take the lead. We are calling on Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce of Bainbridge Township, along with Sens. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, and Rob Portman, a Republican, to begin a bipartisan effort dedicated to creating a better immigration policy.

Meanwhile, Jesus continues to pray for intervention, and he and his children continue to welcome members of the media into their home — all in hopes that someone powerful will save their united family.

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