Christmas is a time for holiday cheer and spending time with loved ones, but thanks to ICE, the Campos Family will have none of that this year.
Oscar and Umberta Campos were two law-abiding and hard-working citizens. Oscar is the owner of a one-man landscaping business and Umberta worked at a local garden center.
They fled from violence in Mexico’s murderous Tamaulipas and the state of Guerrero in 1989, respectively. Umberta’s father was a policeman and got murdered in front of her.
She got kidnapped and sexually assaulted for three days, but managed to escape. She came to the United States seeking asylum while fearing for her life.
The couple eventually lived their American dream. They sacrificed many things and saved money, worked hard, started a business, bought a home, and paid income and property taxes. They raised and educated their three U.S.-born children properly.
Erwin Campos is the youngest and doesn’t speak Spanish. He is currently a sophomore at Cumberland Country Technology Education Center, studying engineering.
The middle child is Janet, who is 22 and has a criminal justice associates degree from Cumberland County College. She can speak a little Spanish but isn’t fluent.
The oldest son, Oscar, 24, who has the same degree from the same college as his sister and is currently studying criminal behavior at Wilmington University in Delaware, is not fluent in Spanish, either. He also works full-time as security at Memorial Hospital of Salem County.
Umberta Campos got targeted by ICE because she followed the rules. After her work papers expired in 2010, she attempted to get a legal extension and therefore made herself and her husband easy targets in the governments’ radar.
Not even political or divine intervention made a difference. Senator Cory Booker and Camden Archdiocese Bishop Dennis Sullivan lobbied on behalf of the family to no avail.
“Senator Booker’s office worked for months with the Campos family and federal officials on this case,” said a spokesman for Booker in an interview. “We are extremely disappointed that ICE has denied the request for a stay of removal and saddened to see another family needlessly torn apart.”
The couple had to pay their own airfare when they voluntarily returned to Mexico, forced to leave their children to fend for themselves Their two oldest are paying the mortgage and utilities of their home, plus their schooling.
The Campos children feel betrayed by the only country they know as home. “They came here for the American dream, just like everyone else,” Erwin said. “And, basically, just got thrown out,” finished Janet.
This article was inspired by NEW JERSEY REAL-TIME NEWS // An ICE-y Christmas gift as immigrant family is separated.