SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of protesters gathered in Springfield Monday morning to show their support for a city resident who is being threatened with deportation.
Springfield Police Department spokesman Ryan Walsh told 22News that 18 people were peacefully arrested on trespassing charges during the protest outside the old Federal Building at 1550 Main Street.
He said the 12 women and six men arrested were residents of Northampton, Chicopee, Amherst, Florence, Hadley, West Springfield, Belchertown, Williamsburg, and Kingston, Pennsylvania.
According to a release sent to 22News by The Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Lucio Perez, a married father of four U.S. citizen children, was forced to buy a ticket to Guatemala on Thursday. In response, members of the workers center, the local community, and religious leaders organized Monday’s protest.
In the release, the Pioneer Valley Workers Center says Perez had a temporary work authorization until July 2017 and is eligible for cancellation of removal as a pathway to obtaining a green card and permanent residency. He is allegedly being forced to wear an electronic monitor on his ankle until his scheduled flight on Thursday.
When 22News got to the protest, dozens of community members, religious leaders, and immigration activists had gathered outside the Old Springfield Federal Building on Main Street.
“They also have lost a lot of loved ones too,” Tony Perez, son of Lucio Perez said. “I’m here today, they are here today to fight for the loved ones that they lost.”
According to the release, Perez had a temporary work authorization that ran out in July of this year. They maintain he’s eligible for a special pardon to receive a green card because he has a family here.
Perez is allegedly being forced to wear an electronic monitor on his ankle until his scheduled flight to Guatemala Thursday.