Town in Trump territory backs detained immigrant
WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. — A Southern Illinois community that solidly backed President Donald Trump has rallied behind a Mexican restaurant manager who doesn’t have legal permission to live in the U.S. and has been detained by immigration officials.
Letters of support for Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco have poured in from West Frank fort’ s mayor, police chief, high school athletic director and the county prosecutor. They describe Hernandez as a role model and praise his civic involvement, including funding school scholarships, benefit dinners for families in need and hosting a law enforcement appreciation event.
Hernandez, 38, came to the U.S. in the 1990s but didn’t obtain legal status, according to friends. He has been the manager of La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant for a decade in the community about 100 miles southeast of St. Louis.
He was arrested at his home this month and remains in custody at a U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement facility outside St. Louis.
ICE officials did not explain why Pacheco was arrested, but noted drunken-convictions from2007.
Some residents in the community of roughly 8,000 didn’t know Hernandez lacked legal status in the U.S. until word spread of his arrest. Though the community largely backed Trump— whohas made an aggressive stance on immigration central to his agenda and has promised to deport millions of immigrants who have no permission to live here— many residents of West Frankfort said Hernandez’s case has complicated their views on immigration policy.
Hernandez’ attorney is pushing for him to be freed on bond until his case can be heard. His wife, Elizabeth Hernandez, and three children are U.S. citizens.
Rescuers look for survivors in the town of Ariha on Monday. Airstrikes on rebel-held Idlib province killed at least 11 people, opposition activists said, in the latest spasm of violence to mar U.N.-brokered peace talks in Geneva.