ICE detains Northern Virginia pastor and threatens deportation; family holds out hope

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DUMFRIES, Va. - A small crowd gathers to worship in the basement-turned-church inside Juan Gutierrez' home every Saturday.

Today he wasn't there, but that number grew, to support him.

"It's really hard, really hard because right now, it broke my family you know, he's the father of my kids, supporter of my home," says Aurelia Sicha, Gutierrez' wife.

She says back on June 28th, she went with him to his yearly check-in with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office.

At one point, she says officers took him back to get fingerprints and said that it would only take a few minutes.

They never brought Gutierrez back.

"The officer telling me, you know miss, Juan Gutierrez is now in detained, he's detained he's not coming out," says Sicha.

In a statement to DCW50, an ICE spokesperson says:

"ICE took Juan Gutierrez-Palomino, a citizen of Peru, into custody June 28 based on a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge in January 2012.

As DHS Secretary Kelly and Acting ICE Director Homan have stated repeatedly, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of national security and public safety threats; however, no class or category of alien in the United States is exempt from arrest or removal."

Gutierrez' family says he was charged with trespassing back in 2012, but the charge was dismissed.

Sicha is a U.S. citizen and Gutierrez came to the United States, from Peru, back in 2002. He stayed when Sicha became pregnant.

His family says he has no criminal record and has a son in the Air Force, a stepson honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, and a 13-year-old daughter.

"I miss him very much and I don`t want anything bad to happen to him over there," says Jade Gutierrez-Sicha, Gutierrez' daughter. "I have faith in God that he will do something good and bring angels to help free my dad."

Organizations including the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy are sharing his story as he faces deportation.

Gutierrez' family says he's currently being held in Farmville, Virginia, where they have been unable to visit him.
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