An undocumented immigrant living in Brookline will be transported to a Youngtown, Ohio, prison while he awaits a federal trial.
Martin Esquivel Hernandez was pulled over in March, accused of not having a proper’s driver’s license. A few days later, officials from ICE took him from his Brookline home.
Esquivel-Hernandez said he came to the U.S. to escape violence in Mexico City. If he is found guilty of a felony, he will be deported.
Dozens of people gathered outside of a Pittsburgh courthouse on Thursday expecting that Esquivel-Hernandez would be released. Instead, his attorney rejected a plea deal with the U.S. government, so the two sides will go to trial next month.
Speaking through a translator, his wife told Channel 11 News that the past few months have been difficult for their young children.
"They are bad because these are things they cannot understand,” Alma Brigido said.
Esquivel-Hernandez’s family was visibly emotional when they learned he wouldn’t be home for the holidays. They said they hope he will walk out of federal court a free man when he’s tried in January.
Many people said he is a pillar of the Brookline community.
Pittsburgh chaplain Rev. Paul Dordal said, “Martin is an incredible community man, a family man who deserves to be released from prison to return to his family."
Supporters marched through downtown Pittsburgh Thursday, calling for the charges against Esquivel-Hernandez to be dropped.
They also called on Pittsburgh to become a sanctuary city, protecting undocumented immigrants like Martin.
A spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto said the city only helps ICE officers track down undocumented immigrants who commit crimes.
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