On Wednesday, April 25th, Eduardo Gualajara Castro went to pay a ticket for driving without a license at the Walworth County Courthouse in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
He never made it home. ICE agents arrested this father of four and small business owner from Lake Geneva.
Eduardo has lived in the United States since 1998, and in Lake Geneva for 17 years. He runs a small business, Edward’s Pallets, where he employs three people making wooden pallets for factories. He and his wife are regulars at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Lake Geneva. Eduardo is a loving father of four, and his children have been badly traumatized by his arrest. His oldest son has struggled with depression and had to miss school. Eduardo’s family may soon have to move because they are not able to afford their rent.
ICE has very quickly moved Eduardo thousands of miles from his family to a detention center in Louisiana, indicating that they plan to deport him very quickly.
Around the country, ICE has arrested thousands of community members like Eduardo who have come forward to seek protection, pay tickets, and access the justice system. Protests led ICE to halt courthouse arrests under the Obama Administration, but Trump has brought back ICE back into the courts with a vengeance.
Eduardo is in the process of applying for a U Visa, a protection for crime victims and their family members. For ICE to permanently separate him from his family while this application is still in process would be a grave miscarriage of justice.
While Eduardo did receive a ticket for DUI in 2005, he quickly paid the fine and attended the required classes. Aside from traffic tickets, he has never had any other encounters with law enforcement. He had a driver’s license until Wisconsin’s legislature took licenses away from immigrant community members in 2007, as part of a wave of states that passed similar bills. Sadly, ICE has thus far refused to consider Eduardo for an immigration bond, saying he was denied entry into the US over twenty years ago. However, this does not change his eligibility for the U Visa.
Eduardo’s detention will traumatize his family and harm his community. Yet Scott Walker and Brad Schimel refuse to speak up on behalf of this Wisconsin man. Call them and tell them that they should be fighting for good people who play active roles in our community and who have caused no harm. They should be fighting for his release so he can come home to his wife, his children, his employees and his community.