Rocio Molina does just about everything in Babylon Bagel and is overwhelmed.
“I feel powerless because this is not my job,” she said in Spanish. “I have been here only one year and this was our dream that we had together.”
The dream with her partner, Alonso Castillo, she says was to extend their domestic bliss into business. The Queens couple opened Babylon Bagel before the pandemic. She says they even handed out free food to first responders and the poor, but on January 28 Immigration and Customs and Enforcement arrested Castillo at the nearby Post Office.
“I felt that a bucket of cold water was thrown on me, like the world was closed to me,” she said.
Alonso Castillo has a standing order of removal against him. He’s in custody now and scheduled for deportation.
“We filed a urgent request for his release,” said his attorney, Jacqueline Pearce with the nonprofit advocacy group, Make the Road New York.
She maintains he is in grave danger because of a cardiac condition.
“This gentleman has been reporting that he has headache and visual changes, which are the exact same representing symptoms he had with his stroke a few years ago,” said Dr. Katharine Lamperti, a volunteer consultant, for Make the Road New York.
What’s more, Make the Road argues Castillo is not even a priority for deportation based on the Biden Administration’s own policies because he doesn’t pose a threat to national security, border security or public safety, where he would have had to have been convicted of an aggravated felony or crimes related to gangs.
“Under the new priorities of the Biden administration, including the priorities that ICE just laid out last week, Mr. Castillo should not have been arrested, should not be detained and should have his deportation stayed,” said Pearce.
Local Congresswoman Grace Meng agrees, she wrote a letter urging ICE to release Castillo immediately.
However, the last administration wanted people like Castillo out of the country, not just because he is undocumented, but because he has broken criminal law.
Last year he was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge that is in the process of being dismissed and in 2007 he pleaded guilty to transferring false Social Security and resident alien identity Cards, served eight months in prison and was deported.
He snuck back over the border in 2010 because he has three US citizen children. They live on Staten Island.
“I was scared that they were gonna literally take him away,” his youngest daughter, said Roselyn Alonso-Lopez told NY1.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” she said.
He’s still perfect in her eyes. The 17-year-old says he supports her financially and emotionally.
“I try not to cry about it cause I’m like, we’re gonna help him. We’re gonna try to get him out,” she said.
She says she was raised to love her country even if her country doesn’t love her father.