This young man has been in the United States since he was three years old. Instead of letting him graduate from high school last month, Trump’s ICE deported him back to the violence in Mexico that his parents fled. Three weeks later he was dead.
Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco should have graduated from his high school in Iowa last month. But instead he was deported to Mexico. And now, three weeks later, Manuel is dead.
“Manuel died a brutal death alone in a foreign land, a symbol of gang supremacy in a country plagued by violent drug cartels. It happened three weeks after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement returned him to Mexico, a country he had left at age 3 when his parents brought him here without a visa.”
Manuel was eligible for protections under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But, according to his mother, his DACA renewal was not processed on time.
Donald Trump repeatedly told the country that he was focused on deporting violent criminals. Manuel was not a violent criminal.
Manuel’s high school friend, Juan Verduzco, told the Register that Manuel had fallen into a bad depression after his father was sent to prison on drug charges two years ago. Then last fall, Manuel was pulled over for speeding and charged with driving under the influence, both misdemeanor charges. But it caused ICE to terminate his DACA status.
“It wasn’t just that he had lost his role model in the father he always looked up to, but that he now felt responsible for being the man of the family. That meant helping to support them, which meant transferring from East to Scavo, which he could attend in between installing flooring for pay. In the midst of all that upheaval, Manuel’s girlfriend had his baby, now a year-old boy.”
“The statement from Shawn Neudauer, ICE public affairs officer, also said Manuel wasn’t technically deported, but was escorted to Mexico by ICE deportation officers at the Laredo, Texas, border this past April 24. He called it a voluntary departure process that doesn’t carry the penalties of a formal deportation. But the impact was the same: Manuel had no choice but to go back, either as a deportee or in a “voluntary departure.” He chose the “voluntary” route.”
Manuel’s parents brought him to the United States originally because they were trying to escape the horrible gang violence in Mexico. The violence has only gotten worse since they left.
According to the Dallas Morning News, deportees are especially targeted by the gangs in certain border areas. The area that Manuel was deported to was extremely dangerous. And three weeks later his throat was slit.
“Yes, Manuel was responsible for driving under the influence during a traumatic time. “I think most of this is because of his dad,” Verduzco said. “That’s when his college stuff, his dreams went down the drain.” No one should put lives at risk by driving under the influence, though some very prominent Iowans have done so without having it derail their futures. Manuel had paid his dues for it.”
“More than anything, his brief life and gruesome death are a reminder of the heartlessness and counter-productiveness of our immigration policies and removal practices, which don’t factor in the harm that people may face upon return.”