'Citizen in my eyes': Bay Area teen pleads for father's life after ICE orders deportation

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 14-year-old Hulissa Aguilar stood outside of the San Francisco ICE headquarters less than a week before Immigration Customs Enforcement is likely to deport her father.

Aguilar along with community members held a rally to plea for San Francisco's ICE Field Office Director, David Jennings to "use his prosecutorial discretion and allow her father to stay in the United States."

Hugo Aguilar is a 42-year-old carpenter. He's lived in the United Stated for 25 years and has two younger children, ages 5 and 3.

"My father has shown me that when you love someone you would do whatever you can for them," said Aguilar.

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Hulissa Aguilar put that lesson into practice and is fighting for her dad.

"I just hope that they can see that rather than just seeing him as a number, as an immigrant in this country. As he is a citizen in my eyes. Because has been a part of this community for 25 years," said Aguilar.

In the back of her head is this date: November 2 when her dad Hugo Aguilar will automatically enter deportation proceedings.

The group carried boxes with 50,000 signatures from community members who are also pleading for Hugo Aguilar to remain in the U.S.

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In his mid 20's Hugo Aguilar completed a two year sentence for a drug conviction. He was transferred to ICE and deported back to Mexico. He returned to support his daughter Hulissa who at the time was 1-year-old.

"Because of one mistake they want to take me from my family," said Hugo Aguilar and added, "I came here when I was 16-years-old. I went to school here, I graduated from high school and then I became a carpenter. I've been in this community for over 25 years. I belong to this community."

Hugo Aguilar has no appeals left in his legal proceedings. For him time is running out. He is hoping for a miracle.

"He is here representing himself by submitting a request for prosecutorial discussion to ICE. Asking ICE to defer action on his deportation," said Rev. Deborah Lee, Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.

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For now the Aguilars family has less than a week left unless their sought out miracle happens.

"It's like a countdown to see what is going to happen with my life. I feel like no kid should have to through that living on a countdown," said Hulissa Aguilar.

We contacted ICE and received this statement:

Hugo Arnoldo Aguilar, 42, is a convicted aggravated felon and unlawfully present citizen of Mexico. He initially entered the U.S. in 1999 as a non-immigrant visitor, but failed to depart in accordance with the terms of his admission. Aguilar's criminal history spans over 15 years and includes a 2005 conviction for possession and transportation of a controlled substance for sale. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) San Francisco officers initially encountered Aguilar in 2005 and lodged an immigration detainer with Hayward, California, jail. Aguilar was taken into ICE custody following his release from Centinela State Prison in 2007, and subsequently issued a final order of removal. He was removed to Mexico January 2008.

He illegally reentered the U.S. at an unknown location and time. In 2017, ICE ERO San Francisco officers encounter Aguilar following his arrest on assault charges by Oakland Police Department, California, and lodged an immigration detainer with Santa Rita Jail, Alameda County. The detainer was not honored and he was released back into the community. ICE ERO San Francisco officers arrested Aguilar, Mar. 24, 2017, in San Francisco. On Aug. 30, 2018, he was released on bond, pending the outcome of his removal proceedings.

Aliens placed into removal proceedings receive their legal due process from federal immigration judges in the immigration courts, which are administered by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice and is separate from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case. ICE officers carry out the removal decisions made by the federal immigration judges. For more information on EOIR, visit: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/
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