Couple works to stay together amid deportation hearings
Two central Pennsylvanians are giving us look at immigration through their eyes. They’re in love and looking to stay together, but one of them is on the cusp of being deported.
On this Tuesday afternoon 17-year-old Chloe Massaro was eager to scribble a major date into her family calendar; her wedding day.
“That makes me happy,” Massaro said looking at the date marked. “It really brings everything together now.”
Nearly three months after her boyfriend at the time, 18-year-old Jose Ignacio, was taken away by ICE on their way to school, she's fighting to keep him in her life.
“I mean it's crazy, but life runs a certain way and if it's meant to be, it's meant to be,” Massaro explained.
She said the two were leaving her home around their usual time this September when two unmarked cars pulled them over.
“Being pulled over was scary for me and then having them fling open the car door and rip him out of my car, I just didn't know how to react. I just sat there and I cried,” Massaro said.
While she said some of the officers tried to give the situation a positive spin, that everything would work out, others were not so kind.
“I said I have to call my mom, that's it and he was like go ahead call your mommy and cry to her, it's not your problem,” Massaro explained.
But this time together is what she'll be fighting for until she can get Ignacio back. He's currently being held at the York County Prison as a detainee, along with dozens of other illegal immigrants in the state. Ignacio was brought into the US from Mexico at just three months old. Now, he's 18.
“He never knew until he was older where he was from. And that's the really sad part,” Massaro said with a frown. “He's being penalized for something he didn't do.”
To the Massaro's, family is everything. It's written all over their living room and they say Ignacio is part of it now.
“In my eyes he just needed someone to actually be there and love him and see him for who he is because all of his life he's just been judged,” she said.
Massaro said Ignacio comes from a troubled past, a tough home life and mistakes as a young teen landed him in a juvenile center, but since the start of their relationship she says he's a changed man.
“He was so excited, he wanted to go to school, he wanted to finish, he wanted to graduate,” she smiled. She said she wants to make that happen.
After deciding they wanted to spend the rest of their life together, they're working to legally keep him in the country.
“Marriages are always risky, but I would say this is one that deserves being given a chance,” Craig Shagin, their attorney, explained.
Shagin said it's a long process, but Ignacio should be able to change his status because he entered the country lawfully.
“So he was brought across the border when he was three months old by an adult presenting documents, so he was inspected and he was admitted following inspection,” Shagin said.
Tuesday CBS 21 was inside the courtroom as the two filed for a marriage license and later settled on a date.
“It was great today. It was a really good feeling, but it was also sad for me, just seeing him in that state,” Massaro said.
After the wedding, which must be held at the jail, the two will file a petition and then go before a judge to change his status.
Through it all Massaro said she's looking to her faith and the words that she tries to live by.
“I have set the Lord always beside me. He is at my right hand side. I will not be shaken,” she read from her framed quote next to the photograph with Ignacio.
Ignacio will appear before a judge for a status hearing on Wednesday.