‘Undocumented:’ ICE arrests hit close to home for Peekskill family
The number of undocumented immigrants arrested is rising every year, and its impact is affecting families in the Hudson Valley.
Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested more than 158,000 undocumented immigrants.
Manuel Zhinin, an Ecuadorian national living in Peekskill, was detained by ICE in December 2017. News 12 has been following the family's story for more than a year, as Manuel Zhinin was moved to four detention facilities in four states.
The Zhinins say that family separation isn't only happening at the border, it's happening in the Hudson Valley.
The impact of this family separation can be seen in the eyes of his 9-year-old daughter, Jozelyn Zhinin, who attended a recent hearing for her father where she asked a federal judge to release him.
"I hope that everything goes well today that hopefully he gets good news that he can come home already," she said outside of the federal courtroom.
According to his attorney, Manuel Zhinin doesn't have a criminal record. His attorney tells News 12 the only reason he was put into deportation proceedings was because he never received a notice to appear for a hearing, the notice allegedly sent to an old address.
Many immigrants living in the country illegally can't afford to fight a case like Zhinin's and are ultimately deported.
After nearly two years behind bars, an immigration judge decided to reopen Manuel's case, allowing him to finally post bond in September. He reunited with his wife and daughter in Peekskill.
"I feel, I can't explain it. I suffered being separated from them. Many nights I couldn't sleep being away from them," he says.
News 12 asked ICE officials for more information on Zhinin's case. They didn't acknowledge the alleged clerical error, but said his immigration proceedings are ongoing.