A West New York family is fundraising for a husband and father of two young children after being detained by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) back in June, with no release from the Essex County Correctional Facility anywhere in sight.Â
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“He was not flagged by the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Instead this government agency sent over his information to ICE, where he was given mandatory detention for a crime he committed almost 20 years ago,” his Christina Enriquez, the wife of Fritz Enriquez, wrote on their GoFundMe page.
“Not to mention – he took the blame for one of his friends who had just had a baby, the baby was in the car, and the cops were threatening them with calling child services. Trump and his regime has waged war on Immigration and anyone within arms reach is paying the price, including Fritz!”
The page, created yesterday, says that Fritz was detained by ICE on June 5th and has been in lockup at the Essex County Correctional Facility ever since.
The page is seeking to raise $3,000 for attorney fees and household income lost since he’s been in jail.
In a phone interview, Christina Enriquez said that her family has been struggling greatly due to the circumstances, with Fritz’s mother fainting during a recent visit and his children Matthew, 7, and Sarah, 3, anxiously awaiting his return since they haven’t seen him since June 5th.
Fritz has requested that his children not be brought to the facility and seeing him in his current state and his wife has honored his request thus far.
“Fritz paid for this crime back in 1999. He was poorly defended, he actually did not commit the crime but he took the blame since there was a child in the car. He was served with 18 months probation, which was completed. Isn’t that double jeopardy?,” she said, also pointing out that he has a permanent residency card.
The family was optimistic that they would have good news after a court appearance in Elizabeth on July 19th, however, Fritz decided to fire his attorney a week prior to that and has since hired Newark-based lawyer Hedwin Stalmen-Navarro.
Christina Enriquez, who began dating Fritz 16 years ago, said everyone appears to now be stuck in a waiting pattern as they await the next court appearance on August 29th.
She further expressed great frustration with her family’s current predicament thus far as she tries her best to stay optimistic.
“Detaining my husband, saying he’s eligible for being removed from this county, makes no sense since Cuba is not taking anyone back,” she added, also noting that he was taken to Essex County jail since he has not been arrested for a crime since 1999.
When asked why her husband never obtained legal immigration status in this country, despite moving here from Cuba 39 years ago when he was just one year old, Christina explained that a Fritz’s family grew up poor and his brother had a heart condition that took his life when he was just 14.
As a result, their parents attention was always focused on hospitals and medical bills and by the time they were beginning the process to get their citizenship, Fritz had already been arrested for the marijuana charge.
“You don’t understand how hard it is for me to watch my children cry for their father every single night. It’s just so unfair, this is injustice,” she concluded.