“I do not understand why the government would take this man away from the good he is doing in Emporia.”
“Julio is a good man – a really good father,” said Itzia Aparicio, a friend of the Berti family. “He is the only source of income for his family, he has no criminal record, and he (went) to school and learned English to better himself and be a better member of the community.”
But in 2005, Berti was approached to purchase a fake Kansas driver’s license. He then contacted law enforcement to report the incident, and he continued to work with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation under the impression they would offer him assistance on the path to obtain his citizenship, according to Dreamactivist.org.
In July 2012, Berti was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and by press time Wednesday, he was still being held in a detention center at Caldwell County in northwest Missouri, where he awaits deportation. He originally was scheduled for deportation Feb. 27, but the process has been delayed.
“He was on the path to legalizing his status,” Aparicio said. “He has an i130 petition approved by immigration and five citizen kids. He shouldn’t be deported, according to current deportation rules.”
Berti’s marriage petition was approved in 2010, and, according to immigration law, that approval should have been enough for Berti to apply for citizenship, but he was unable to because of a deportation order from 2002, Aparicio said. Berti also worked for Sacred Heart Church as a janitor and handy man for five years.
Taylor Stueve, freshman elementary education major, said she thinks Berti’s treatment is unjust since he has been a member of the community for so long.
“This situation is very sad. This man has done nothing wrong…and still he is being criminalized,” Stueve said. “He has a family and a community that has grown with him. I do not understand why the government would take this man away from the good he is doing in Emporia. He has been cooperative and has not caused anyone any problems.”
Stueve said that if Berti were a member of her family, she would be “disgusted” with the way things have been handled so far.
Aparicio said that it is “heart-breaking” to hear Berti’s family talk about him.
For more information about Berti’s case and more like it, visit Dreamactivist.org.