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Jackson Heights Father of Three, Detained for 20 Days by ICE, Reunited With Family

(Photo: Cruz for New York)

Aug. 16, 2018 By Tara Law

A Jackson Heights man who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a bus ride to visit his brother in Seattle last month has been reunited with his family.

Alfredo Flores, a 36-year-old father of three, was welcomed home by a rally in Jackson Heights yesterday after being released on bond. 

Flores, a Mexico-born undocumented immigrant, was arrested while riding a Greyhound bus from New York to Seattle on July 16. Unaware that the bus’s route cuts through Canada, Flores was detained at the border near Buffalo, N.Y.

His wife, Wendy Valverde, 33, was left to care for the couple’s children— ages 2, 4 and 5— alone. She was also faced with the task of posting a $10,000 bond to secure her husband’s release. 

Valverde started a Facebook fundraiser last month, and told the Jackson Heights Post that she was planning to sell ice cream at a Peruvian Parade in New Jersey to raise help raise the money.

The couple’s fortunes shifted after The Jackson Heights Post published a story about their plight on July 26.

Catalina Cruz, a candidate for State Assembly, read about Flores’s story and reached out to Valverde.

Valverde was able to get pro-bono legal representation with the help of Cruz and Sunnyside Community Services, and Flores was released on bond after 20 days in detention. 

At the rally yesterday, Valverde thanked Cruz for connecting his family to legal aid.

“When I was detained, I feared the worst and that I would be deported,” Flores said. “Fortunately, my wife was able to find the right help so that I can once again be with my family.”

Valverde also expressed her gratitude to Cruz.

“When Catalina Cruz first contacted me, I had been desperately seeking help from various aid groups,” Valverde said. “I didn’t know where else to turn, but luckily Catalina pointed me in the right direction. I’m relieved to have my husband back home and I thank the many people from this community who have supported our family every step of the way.”

Speaking to the Jackson Heights Post today, Cruz said that she was grateful that the publication had covered the story.

“If it hadn’t been for that story I don’t think I ever would’ve found these folks,” Cruz said. “And he’s out— for now. I’m very thankful.”

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He should take his wife and three kids back to Mexico so they can all live together. They do want to be together, right?


Mexicans from Mexico are a race?? What race are they? I thought we are all a part of the Human Race? Can’t be a “racist” if one is critical of one’s own. When one does something illegal and one is caught, it not racist to punish the criminal. If I did this in another country can I call their citizens racist when I have disobeyed their country’s laws? Name a country that would allow this to occur!

I hate gentrification folks

I can’t believe these “Jackson Heights” residents are against immigration. Move to the UES if you hate it so much.

JH resident

I’m a Jackson Heights resident, first generation born in the US to LEGAL immigrants from a non-Spanish speaking South American country.

I believe in LEGAL immigration. It’s not fair that illegal immigrants come to NYC and consume public services and resources without paying their share of income taxes. The rest of us are footing the bill for these people. They have kids who are recipients of food stamps and Medicaid, they overpopulate neighborhood, put a strain on schools, and they make little effort to assimilate to American culture. Instead they choose to live in majority, working class Latino ghettos primarily in Queens.

The media needs to stop grouping all immigrants together. There’s one group following the law and another milking the government.

JH resident

I do, too, but then tell us what you think the solution is? He’s already here. Should his kids grow up here without him and continue the cycle of poverty? The next generation has a better chance with him than without him.


If one is here ILLEGALLY, one is here ILLEGALLY. Don’t care when they came , why they came or WHERE they came from. They should come here legally or be sent back to where they came from, ASAP! This man committed three ILLEGAL acts and was caught three times. Caught entering two countries ILLEGALLY. Think about Mollie Tibbetts and the other Angel Families. Pity for this criminal? Don’t think so!

JH resident

Even Mollie Tibbetts’ family didn’t want her death to be used in these kinds of arguments against immigrants. It’s tragic, but it’s not representative of the vast majority who are here. This man’s a father, a contributing member of our community. Should we take no pity on his children and their future? Because their future and well-being in this community is directly linked – in my eyes – to the well-being of my child. Do we want impoverished, traumatized children struggling in one parent households?

Juan Verdad

One thing is for sure. I would not vote for Catalina Cruz, she is the candidate of illegal immigrants


Cruz is pro “unauthorized aliens”. First they were “undocumented” now Cruz wants “illegals” called “unauthorized”. One must be politically correct these days. Remember, only citizens are allowed to vote, so Cruz cannot be the candidate of “unauthorized aliens”. She is pro “unauthorized aliens. I was recently corrected by Cruz’s supporters! I am extensively researching the views and beliefs of the candidates this election. Not just voting party lines!

Juana Juana

Not concentration camps! And the the way, your pal OBAMA started these procedures. You leftists need to be educated. The facts are not on your side. #makeamericagreatagain

typical Trumpeter

Not child concentration camps, but children concentrated in camps, (where they were drugged against their will and sexually assaulted). Totally different!

Your claims about Obama are COMPLETELY FALSE. As usual your entire understanding of the situation comes from parroting Trump’s tweets.

Cecilia Muñoz, Mr. Obama’s top domestic policy adviser said the Obama administration had decided against separating children from their parents because “the morality of it was clear — that’s not who we are.”

Neither the Bush nor Obama administration had a policy that had the effect of widespread family separation, said Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute. “NOTHING LIKE WHAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS DOING HAS OCCURRED BEFORE,” she said.

Wow, are you all this gullible?

Tommy O

Juana Juana – You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about which is typical of the Trump administration ( Most corrupt administration ever) and their alternate facts.

seems logical

“Whatabout Obama” is the Trumpeters’ typical reply.

If there’s nothing wrong with child concentration camps, why does it matter that Obama started them, as you falsely claim? You’te saying Obama deserves credit for our excellent immigration policy, and not Trump, right?

Black Forest Iced Cake

Shame on you! Why would you think he committed crimes where he originally came from? You have no idea how awful the conditions are in other countries. If you had to live the way some of them do, you’d try to leave and go to a better place, also.

JH resident

And how does it help our community to deport him and leave his wife to care for three small children? We will be supporting them if he doesn’t. They will grow up with the trauma of separation, will live in a way that is less financially secure, and have other disadvantages. He’s a taxpayer. I really have no idea how people can be so cruel and so foolish about the big picture here.

Tree of Liberty

Cruz stating that Greyhound should be held responsible for not protecting their riders, lol. And what’s the big deal of him being detained for a month. How unfortunate. lol. He is out on the street again like the time he jumped the turnstile years ago only to be let out again. Send him back to Mexico, and let him apply from there, cause it seems he never wanted to apply from here. Make room on that plane and send Cruz and Trump also to Mexico for allowing this B.S.

LIC Neighbor

what happens next? Is his wife a US Citizen who can sponsor him and obtain a I-601A waiver for his illegal entry? Considering that a change of venue must be filed to transfer his case from Seattle Immigration court to the New York USCIS District Immigration court it will take several years before he is scheduled for an individual calendar hearing in six (6) he will be entitled to apply for an employment authorization document and a social security number, but if his kids have received a dime in public assistance under the USCIS proposed rules it will be problematic for him to claim cancellation of removal or any other remedy which would stave him from deportation.

JH resident

Why should anyone sympathize with illegal immigrants?

He’s not a DACA case, no one made him come to this country. He came to the US illegally as an adult according to the article published on July 26th. He knows what he did was wrong and wants to play the victim now. Unfortunately, this publication is giving him a platform.

who cares about humans anyway

Why? Because they’re fleeing political persecution in their homes in Central America and had to pass through Mexico? Because these “evil” people want safety and dignity for themselves, their spouses and children?

Just kidding, lock the children up in Trump’s concentration camps, right? Another Compassionate Conservative.

JH resident 2

Alfredo Flores is from Mexico, he didn’t flee from Central America. He’s an economic immigrant who didn’t want to come here through the legal channel.

He didn’t come here with a wife and kids. He met his wife, who is a citizen, and had three kids with her, who are also citizens because they were born in the US. Why does he continue to be illegal? The answer is government benefits for his children.

Why are people like you so extreme? Who said anything about putting kids in concentration camps?

This country is built on immigration, but it should be legal.

JH resident 2

You should ask him why he came here illegally. Assuming he can understand and speak English.


The Trumpeters will find some way to be angry at a father being reuinted with his children.

After all, they supported Trump’s child concentration camps.


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