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Queens Chronicle

Immigrant dad back with his family in JH; Undocumented father was cuffed at the Canadian border last month

August 16, 2018 | by Mark Lord

A Jackson Heights family is, at least temporarily, reunited after the father, a 36-year-old waiter and bartender, was detained July 16 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents during a bus trip to visit his brother in Seattle.

With his family at his side on Wednesday, Alfredo Flores, who came to the United States from Mexico 10 years ago, met the press to discuss the latest developments in his ongoing legal battle to remain in the country with his wife, Wendy Valverde, and their three young children.

With Latino Lawyers Association of Queens President and state Assembly candidate Catalina Cruz translating, Flores told the crowd that he was on his way to visit his brother for “a work project.” But, to his surprise, the route of the Greyhound bus he was on included driving across the U.S. border at Buffalo into Canada.

Cruz, who is running against Assemblywoman Ari Espinal (D-Jackson Heights) in Sept. 13’s Democratic primary, said she took up Flores’ cause after learning of it in the local press.

“I have been working to get Alfredo out, to get him legal services, and to bring him home to his family,” Cruz said. “When you’re a low-income working immigrant, you can’t afford both a bond and a lawyer … It is families like these that have encouraged me to run and to propose policies that will make sure our immigrant families are protected.”

According to Cruz, the next step for Flores is to have his case transferred from Batavia to New York City. She said he will have to go back to court to fight to be able to remain with his family.

His next court date is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 21.