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Jackson Heights Group Creates Petition to Help Stop Resident From Being Deported

Alfredo Flores, Eduardo, Valentina, Julian and Wendy Valverde (Photo: Courtesy of Wendy Valverde)

Jan. 31, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

A Jackson Heights man who is in jeopardy of being deported is getting the backing of a local immigrant organization to help him stay.

The Jackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity Network, a local group that aides immigrants, has created an online petition to help Alfredo Flores, an undocumented Mexican national, remain in the country.

Flores, who is married to a citizen and is a father of three, is awaiting a date for a final hearing, when a judge will ultimately determine whether he can remain in the U.S.

The group created an online petition on Jan. 13 calling on the U.S. government to allow Flores to stay with his family until he attains the legal documentation necessary to become a permanent resident.

“It helps make the case that Flores is a valuable member of the community,” Marcus Longmuir, a JHISN member said. The petition, he added, might help sway the judge in terms of whether Flores is permitted to stay.

The group started circulating a paper petition at an event held at the Renaissance Charter, located at 35-59 81st St, on Martin Luther King Day. They generated about a dozen signatures and helped spread the word. They then posted the petition online, which has accumulated about 130 signatures as of press time.

Flores, who has been living in the U.S. for 15 years, got caught up in the cross hairs of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last July after he inadvertently crossed the Canadian border while riding a Greyhound bus to Seattle to meet his brother.

Flores, who was unaware that the bus route included Canada, was arrested and detained at the border near Buffalo, N.Y.

Wendy Valverde, his wife, frantically raised $10,000 for her husband’s bond and he was released after 20 days of detainment. He has been waiting for a court date since—which has been pushed back three times. The most recent date was Jan. 16 but it was deferred due to the government shutdown.

JHISN said it will keep the petition open until Flores’ hearing.

Flores has been at his Jackson Heights home since his release and has been working temporarily for a catering business for extra money while waiting for his court date.

Valverde said that the whole episode has put an enormous strain on her family. She said that the family—which includes three children below the age of 6–is dependent on her receptionist salary at a Woodside orthodontist office. Furthermore, to add to the stress, her mother is being treated for colon cancer.

“I need [Alfredo] to go back to being the head of the household,” Valverde said. “I can’t keep working like this. It’s unstable for the kids never knowing who’s going to be taking care of them.”

Valverde said that her children– 5-year-old Eduardo, 4-year-old Valentina, and 2-year-old Julian—have all been shaken by the uncertainty, particularly when their father was being detained.

She said it has hit Eduardo the hardest.

In the midst of the couple’s tedious waiting period, Flores’ lawyer Cynthia Ventura of the nonprofit organization New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has been building his case.

Ventura was assigned to Flores’ case by New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), a public defense program for immigrants facing deportation that was launched in New York City in 2013.

The organization works with NYLAG to assign defense lawyers for immigrants such as Flores.

Ventura got the ball rolling on the petition by reaching out to the JHISN, which has helped people in Flores’ situation before.

Ventura said the petition will help. “It’s always a positive factor,” she said. “He very plainly does have ties to the community that wants him to stay.”

Meanwhile, Flores remains anxious about how the case will unfold.

“The place I am from in Mexico is very dangerous and I know for sure it will affect my wife and kids if I get sent back,” Flores said. “I want to watch my kids grow with my wife, so I want to fight to stay in the U.S.”

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he’s been here for 15 years and hasn’t become a US citizen or taken the path to citizenship.
you have no excuse man. you have 3 kids and only one parent working. bravo for working the system somehow. I am all for keeping families together, but actions have consequences. Why should you get a break? you’ve had the time to do the right thing.

Who the hell doesn’t know the stops a bus makes that they are riding across the country?
Such a ridiculous statement, and as if this precludes you from having been arrested for breaking the law.
Oh, i didn’t know the bus went to Canada and I have been living here illegally for 15 years……whoops

JH resident

Yet another propaganda piece from the JH Post on illegal aliens.

Are we supposed to feel sorry that they both have to work now? A prior article claims Wendy Valverde was a stay-at-home mom…poor her, having to work like the rest of us law-abiding, tax-paying suckers.

I may be wrong, but I believe both parents in most households in this city have to work just to get by.

Legal Immigrant

So you were out in the street against that Nazi who lived illegally in Jackson Heights for decades? Didn’t see you there …


I would like to remind readers and responders to this story recall that eight of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were immigrants to fledgling republic. We needed immigrants since the birth of the nation and we need immigrants to this day.

Rico Suave

They were LEGAL immigrants to be clear, meaning they respecting the existing laws of the time.

JH resident

@ Henry

It’s very unfair to group legal immigrants who are pursuing the American dream in honest ways with illegal aliens who are knowingly breaking the law.

They are not the same.


Yes, deport a working man so a family of 3 will be fatherless with no one to pay for her mothers cancer. How is this making america great?


The US taxpayer is paying for this man who entered the US ILLEGALLY. He should have been sent back to Mexico the first time he was caught ILLEGALLY in the US. Immigrants who come here LEGALLY do not get all the benefits this man and his family get. If he came here LEGALLY, he and his family would NOT be in this situation!

Legal Immigrant

And where are you and your parents/grandparents/great-grandparents from? Which Native tribe? They are not native, at all? Oh, I see … Please stop the hate mongering and speak like a human. Thanks.

Legal Immigrant

You got it all wrong, friend! The US taxpayer is mainly paying to give more tax breaks to the already mega-rich and to finance the miltary-industrial complex. My best guess you are one of the 99% being robbed every day but not by undocumenting human beings. That man you are talking about so unkindly of is, like most undocumented workers in this country (yes, the ones who harvest your tomatoes, almonds etc etc.) paying taxes. Also, the wife is a citizen, so there shouldn’t be any question about separating this family. Be kind, and think back to why and where your ancestors came from …

JH resident

@ Legal Immigrant

You’re all over the place with comments that are completely irrelevant to the article.

What taxes is this man paying that justifies his illegal presence? Surely you don’t think the pittance of sales tax he’s paying on food and clothes more than makes up for the incomes taxes he’s dodging by working cash jobs.

This is Queens, do you believe this man is toiling in a farm? Where in Queens would that be happening? Find the articles from a few months ago; he was a bartender and now he works for a caterer. He has no special skills and isn’t doing work that a legal, law-abiding citizen refuses to do.

Stop with this ancestor and Native American nonsense…the year is 2019, this isn’t the early 1600s when the Mayflower sailed here.

This should be a country of laws with people who respect them and are willing to show they believe in the American way by obeying the law. No other civilized country in the world tolerates a massive influx of illegal aliens.

It’s very irresponsible for these two people to bring three kids into this world fully knowing that he has no right to be in this country.

The taxpayers of this city are paying for this family’s food stamps, Medicaid coverage, and any other benefits she’s managed to weasel her way into for her kids.

I do have sympathy for these kids, not because they could lose their father…because their father is reckless. Who gets on a bus without knowing the stops? Especially someone who has no documentation.


Please tell me what were the laws of “legal” or “illegal” immigration in the time that the Declaration of Independence was written? To the best of my knowledge there were no laws in regards to immigration written until 1882. So there was not illegal immigration in this time period. I would encourage you to study the history of US immigration law before you make totally erroneous statements about legal vs illegal immigration.

Frank Nigro

Mr. Flores is married to an American. I am assuming she sponsored him for resident alien status. Why is there a deportation order against him?


If you enter the country illegally, you have no chance of getting a greencard. The government requires that you enter through a port of entry (be it for tourist reasons, or for an approved work visa) to receive an I-94 document confirming your entry date and details. Without that, you can’t file the paperwork with USCIS for a green card application for “spousal sponsorship.”

Legal Immigrant

Not sure you read the article properly. This is NOT ABOUT having to work, this is about separating families who have lived, worked AND PAID TAXES in this country of ours for decades. STOP THE HATE MONGERING, PLEASE, and speak/write like a human. Thanks.


Pays taxes? Are you on drugs? His taxes won’t come out of his nice fat off the books check. But ours will.

Stop voting liberal people!!!

Rico Suave

This is not about separating families. This is about respecting the law. Anybody who violates immigration laws in any country (including the United States) must be deported. Guess what my friend? In this country, nobody is above the law


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