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6/30: Oceanside minister supported Trump, now he faces deportation
Released 20 August 2017  By Kate Morrissey – San Diego Union-Tribune

Oceanside minister supported Trump, now he faces deportation

Kate Morrissey – San Diego Union-Tribune
June 30, 2017

Jorge Ramirez, an Oceanside minister and unauthorized immigrant, didn’t
think he would end up in line for deportation when he encouraged his
U.S. citizen daughter to vote for now-President Donald Trump.

In line with his conservative religious beliefs, Ramirez considers
himself a Republican, he said in an interview at Otay Mesa Detention
Center, where he is awaiting deportation proceedings. Border Patrol
picked him up after staking out his house early one May morning, and
he’s been in the detention facility since.

Ramirez said he does not know why he is being targeted for removal from
the U.S. The Trump administration has said that it is targeting
criminals and those who have already been ordered deported. Ramirez said
he falls into neither category.

“Trump said, ‘Let’s keep all the good people here and all the bad people
out,’” Ramirez said.

“That’s great, but I’m here,” Ramirez said of his detention situation.
“If I’m here, anybody can be here. I’m not saying I’m the best person in
the world, but I’ve tried to live a good life.”

Ramirez worked as a satellite television technician, and frequently went
to Camp Pendleton. Issues with his security clearance brought him to the
attention of authorities in December.

He said he supports the Republican agenda on both fiscal and social
issues and that he still supports Trump.

“Everything that he’s said against immigrants — it’s not that I’m in
favor, but bad people don’t belong here,” Ramirez said. “In order to
make America great, you have to have people contributing to this

Ramirez said he also encouraged his youngest daughter to volunteer with
the campaign of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista.

Ramirez came to the U.S. with his family when he was 11 and was raised
in North County. In high school, Ramirez joined the Junior Reserve
Officers’ Training Corps for the Marines, and when the Gulf War began,
he tried to enlist. The military would not let him fight because of his
immigration status.

“I’m USA all the way,” Ramirez said. “It’s that American spirit. It just
gets into you.”

He said wearing his uniform twice a week helped him to feel like he
belonged. He recalled his earliest experiences in school in the U.S.,
when he didn’t understand what anyone was saying and other students
would make fun of him.

When he worked as a satellite television technician, always tried to
show the Marines he encountered how grateful he was for their service,
he said.

“They sacrifice so much for freedom and for us,” he said.

The issue he has with the way immigration policy is currently being
implemented, he said, is that since he’s been in immigration detention,
he’s seen good people in there.

“To think that undeserving people are coming here makes me sad,” Ramirez

Ramirez believes that going to immigration detention is part of God’s
plan for him. He prayed for a way to sort out his immigration status not
long before he was arrested by Border Patrol.

Inside the detention facility, he’s been counseling and supporting other
detainees with a message of hope and love, he said. Since he began
attending a daily Bible study group in the facility, its numbers have
grown to around 25 from about 10, he said.

Ramirez has spent his life as part of the Apostolic Church, where he is
a music minister. His father served as a pastor, a post that led to the
family coming to the U.S.

Ramirez said he met his wife, Silvia, through church. They married 22
years ago.

Being away from her has been one of the most difficult parts of being in
detention, he said.

Ramirez hoped to get released on bond Thursday at an immigration court
hearing. His three children, all U.S. citizens, came with Juan
Hernandez, the pastor for their church, to watch. They prayed in the
waiting room as they waited their father’s turn.

His attorney, Ruben Salazar, said he felt positive about Ramirez’s
potential for bond and for getting relief from deportation when he
presents his full case in immigration court.

“He’s the kind of immigrant America seeks to have,” Salazar said.

As the family was escorted into the courtroom, Judge David Anderson was
telling Salazar that he would need more time to read through the
210-page packet that Salazar had submitted that morning to show
Ramirez’s ties to his community. It included several letters of support,
records of Ramirez’s tax filings, his school achievements and the awards
that his children have won.

Anderson rescheduled the hearing for August, so Ramirez will have to
wait in detention for at least six more weeks. Salazar objected,
unsuccessfully arguing that the delay violated Ramirez’s constitutional

As his children filed out of the courtroom, Ramirez’s face remained
tight, not seeking eye contact or showing emotion.

Outside the courtroom, their pastor consoled the Ramirez children. He
reminded them that there must be a greater purpose in this moment. They
rehearsed lines to say to the Spanish-speaking media waiting for them
outside. The youngest, Abisag, 17, volunteered to call their mother, who
was waiting at home for news. By the time Ramirez has his rescheduled
hearing, Abisag, will be in New York for her freshman year of college.

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