By Mark Hallum
The family of Edisson Barros was waiting anxiously for New Jersey federal immigration Judge Mirlande Tadal to reach a conclusion about the Queens taxi driver’s impending deportation to Ecuador on Aug. 14 when they were heartbroken by bad news.
Barros would not be granted the right to stay in the United States, where he has lived for 23 years and raised his two daughters, who were both born in the country.
“We are completely destroyed, we’re devastated. We worked so hard on this and I don’t know how to explain it but we are completely devastated,” Irene Teran, Barros’ neice, told TimesLedger as the Maspeth resident was on his way back to Ecuador. “We don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
City Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) joined Barros’ family in their appeal to Tadal to spare the Ecuadorian immigrant and Maspeth resident after he was arrested while walking his dog May 5.
“Deporting Edisson Barros will not Make America Great Again. It will succeed only in decimating and devastating a family,” Moya said, before the referring to President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan. “There is no honor in visiting this hell on Edisson and his family, and doing so is not a defense of America or liberty. In the interest of justice, we are calling on Judge Mirlande Tadal to stay his deportation, at least until she can review his case and make an informed decision.”
Barros was arrested after his dog ran into the road and in an attempt to get the attention of a motorist, threw his keys at the car that was barreling toward his pet, according to Moya.
“I am horrified and angered by the actions taken by the federal government to try to take Edisson Barros away from his family and his home for the last 25 years,” state Assemblywoman Ari Espinal (D-Jackson Heights) said. “I join Council member Francisco Moya in asking Judge Mirlande Tadal to stay Edisson’s deportation. The federal government must stop tearing families apart.”
But Moya admitted the case of Barros was personal to him considering their shared heritage and the timing of the scheduled deportation.
“Mr. Barros came to the United States not to be a burden on taxpayers or take advantage of any system. He came here without malice or corrupt intent. Mr. Barros came here out of a sense of duty to his family, to be a father to his U.S.-born daughters, and to provide them with financial and emotional support — as would any father capable of doing so,” Moya said. “Like him, my family came to Queens from Ecuador and the timing of this case triggers a cognitive dissonance for me. August is Ecuadorian Heritage month. Over this past weekend, thousands of people came out to Northern Boulevard — despite the heat wave — to celebrate our annual Ecuadorian Independence Day parade.”
Queens is home to one third of the Ecuadorian population in the state, centralized in Corona, Jackson Heights and Woodside.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall