Photo: Galindo Family Immigration Struggle
An outstanding student from western Colorado named last week as a recipient of a prestigious scholarship could find his dreams frustrated due to the recent arrest and possible deportation of his mother.
“This past week has been devastating. I can’t imagine moving forward without her,” said 18-year-old Carbondale resident Hector Morales, who has asked for the support of the community to prevent his mother’s deportation.
Norma Galindo was arrested at her home last Tuesday. Morales was born in the United States, but his mother - who has lived in this country for more than two decades - still is not a legal resident.
The arrest came as a result of an incident that occurred four years ago, when Galindo served a year’s probation for having used documents that were not hers.
Galindo’s arrest came a few days after her son was notified that he had been accepted to Duke University and just hours after Morales learned that he had been selected as a Daniels Fund Scholar.
“My whole life my mother has instructed me to exceed expectations and do everything wholeheartedly,” Hector said. “She encourages me to strive to be the best person I can be, and that is why I have accomplished so much up to this point. It is crucial that she be present at my (high school) graduation.
Edgar Niebla, the spokesman for the Asociacion de Jovenes Unidos en Accion (Association of Youth United in Action), said the possibilities are good that Galindo will not be deported because of her good moral character and because she - due to the type of minor crime she was convicted of - qualifies for prosecutorial discretion that would allow the case to be suspended or dropped.
Galindo’s deportation would destroy the family’s stability and the ability of Hector and younger brother Oswaldo “to continue with productive lives,” Niebla said.
Galindo’s arrest came one day before the sheriff of Garfield County, Lou Vallaria, said at a press conference that his department will continue participating in immigration operations along with federal agents.
“The Morales family should be celebrated and a model for all of our families,” Daniel LeBlanc, Hector’s teacher and basketball coach, said. “We should be honoring them, not tearing them apart.”