Akron family left behind after dad is deported

Akron family left behind after dad is deported

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - There is no doubt the Latino vote will be a huge factor in this presidential election and immigration is an important topic for many.  The topic is key for an Akron teen who's dad was just deported after living here for most of his life.

"He was trying.  He knew he had to be sent back but we didn't know when it was going to happen," said Mickaela Lopez.

It happened July 6, 2011.  Armando Ruiz Lopez was deported and it only took 3 days.  He spoke to 19 Action News reporter Lydia Esparra from Mexico.

"I figured I'd been here for so long and I have my kids and the restaurant.  I'm a good citizen," said Armando Ruiz Lopez.  "It's awful.  It's punishment.  When I left there my son wasn't even a year old and now he's two and walking and he doesn't even know me."  

But it wasn't enough.  At 16 Lopez entered the country illegally.  At 18 he fled from police but  20 year's later it came back to haunt him.  Armando worked six days a week at his restaurant and provided for his family.  He tried to become a legal citizen four years ago but was denied.  His honesty opened the door for him to be deported.  He left behind his wife Gina, and four American-born children.  Mickaela is the oldest at 17.

"I think he should have tried sooner.  I think he should have not runaway from home and come to the U.S. illegally.  None of this would have happened and my brothers wouldn't be without a dad," said Mickaela Lopez.

Mickaela cannot vote in this year's elections but she has a clear understanding what's at stake for millions of others just like her.

"They have family's and most of them do good.  Not all Mexicans are bad.  They're nice people like everyone else," said Mickaela Lopez.

President Obama believes illegal immigrants in good standing should be allowed to become citizens but would have to pay fines and learn English.  Governor Romney opposes amnesty and believes that it acts as a magnet to encourage more illegal entry.

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