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Jackson Heights Mom of 3 Racing Against Time to Help Husband Detained by ICE Upstate

Wendy Valverde, Alfredo Flores, and their three children. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Valverde)

July 26, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

A Jackson Heights mother’s world has been turned upside down as her husband, father to three kids, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in recent days.

Alfredo Flores, a 36-year-old Mexican national, was just hours into his long Greyhound bus journey to visit his brother in Seattle, WA, when he was detained by ICE in the morning of July 16, according to his wife, Wendy Valverde.

“He can’t drive there because he doesn’t have a license, and he obviously can’t fly,” Valverde, a naturalized citizen with roots in Peru, said.

It was Flores’ first time making the 21-leg bus ride to Washington, and neither Valverde, 33, nor Flores were aware that the route dipped into Canada.

“Mr. Flores was encountered at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry in Buffalo, New York…after having been refused entry into Canada and returned to the United States in the custody of Canadian authorities,” said Khaalid Walls, an ICE spokesperson.

Walls added that Flores had no criminal history, but was previously apprehended by border patrol over a decade ago after attempting to enter the U.S. without inspection. “On that date, he was permitted voluntary return to Mexico,” he said.

Valverde, who has been married to Flores for three years and was with him for four years before that, only learned of her husband’s state well into the evening of the day he was detained, when he called her from an ICE detention center in Buffalo but was forced to keep the call brief.

“I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I have nightmares, I haven’t eaten, and my kids miss their dad.”

Their children, ages 5, 4, and 2, only know that their father isn’t home, and are too young to understand the conditions of his absence, Valverde said.

Flores has been able to make a couple of phone calls to the home since being detained last week, most of which have been spent talking to his children.

Valverde says it’s hard for her to hand the phone to her children and see them break into tears. “They start crying non-stop. It breaks my heart,” she said. “But he misses them, how can I say no?”

The mother of three, who quit her job in Sunnyside months ago to be able to spend more time with her children, has spent the 10 days since his arrest trying to navigate the legal system, find pro bono help, leaving unanswered messages to aid groups, and trying to raise $10,000 to post her husband’s bond, all while caring for her kids.

A fundraiser she started on Facebook is her closest bet so far, with $465 raised in less than two days. Valverde’s goal is to raise the funds before Aug. 7, when she will travel to Buffalo to be with her husband for his court appearance.

At times Valverde says it feels like the walls are closing in on her, but she tries to stay focused and not imagine the worst for her family.

“Sometimes I get scared—I don’t even have half the money yet, but I have to keep trying,” she said.

To have her husband, who was working two jobs as a bartender and waiter prior to being detained, be ordered back to Mexico would be devastating for her and their children.

“I’ve never been to Mexico, and the kids grew up here,” she said. “It’s all they know. But at the same time it’ll be very hard for me if I stay here and have to take care of the kids and pay rent and child care alone.”

Valverde is planning on making and selling ice cream at the Peruvian Parade in Paterson, NJ this weekend to help raise money, and will also cook and sell Peruvian food the following weekend at a friend’s spot in Corona.

To donate to the “Raising Money for Alfredo Flores” fund, click here.

The cook-out in Corona will be held on Aug. 5 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 104-58 42nd Ave.

email the author: [email protected]

27 Comments

tony

Amy, dear Amy. First, food and clothing are not taxed in NYC. And the pittance of sales-tax he pays on his “household goods” doesn’t even come close to the actual benefits he (and his family) TAKE from you and I.

Consider Mr. Alfredo Flores paying taxes on income from his “two” jobs as a bartender and waiter. We can only go 2 ways with this. 1) he is working off the books, paid cash, and not reporting any income. Or 2), he is working with a false, stolen, or otherwise fraudulent SS# (a federal crime). In which case you can be sure that he is claiming the maximum number of dependents on a W-9 form (also a federal crime). And we can be certain that he is not reporting any of his tips (another federal crime).

Next, let’s think about his wife Wendy Valverde. She was “making and selling ice cream” in NJ. I doubt that she collected and paid taxes on her sales. I also doubt that she raised the $10,000 needed for Alfredo’s bond. Enough about his contributions, stop with “paying taxes” myth. Would you like to now discuss his pilfering?

There are too many American citizens in want. We needn’t import these takers. Charity begins at home.

Amy, feel free to express your compassion. Contribute to Alfredo’s ‘get out if jail’ bond fund. Wife Wendy is still several thousand dollars short. Kick in so that he can be released pending trial. Give so that Mr. Flores can once again slither into the “shadows” for another decade.




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Barbara

Immigrants have made this country, over centuries and now. Trump is scapegoating immigrants in the way that Jews were scapegoated in Nazi Germany. Alfredo, like most undocumented immigrants, worked and paid taxes but has gotten little in return. He is not a taker. No human is illegal. ICE and Trump are terrorizing and trying to divide neighborhoods throughout the U.S. Join with the JH Immigrant Solidarity Network to stop them.




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Tony

Barbra cont: Mr Flores is an illegal alien. Sorry if that term offends you. When the truth is bent by use of “undocumented” I am not hurt. To me illegal and undocumented are the same thing (Po-that-to Po-tha-to). I prefer to use the more accurate “illegal”. The ad-hominems and bullying won’t change the truth. Alfredo Flores is not “undocumented”. I’m sure he has documents. His documents just prove that he should not be here. His documents are from another nation. He is here illegally, he is in fact trespassing.

An “illegal immigrant” is one who has entered a country in violation of the laws of that country.




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Barbara

Tony, I don’t believe any human is “illegal.” I think Alfredo should be given a chance to make his case for citizenship. If he is deported, his loving family will be torn apart, because his wife is a naturalized citizen, and their children were born here. We all have more in common with each other whether we have papers or not than we do with the multi- millionaire in the White House. Don’t let him and Sessions divide us, and let’s look to the and the real battles we have — like affordable healthcare, jobs that pay enough to support a family, and decent housing for all. Let’s join together to try to save the earth from being destroyed by global warming. Trump is using immigration to divide the American people. Don’t be a pawn in his game.




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JH resident

Barbara, are you saying it’s acceptable for people to knowingly break the law and get rewarded for it? What does this say to all the people who are following the process and waiting in line to come here legally?

You call out real battles such as ‘jobs that pay enough to support a family’. You do realize that illegal immigrants depress wages and take jobs away from low skill, legal workers, right? Employers are to blame, but if they didn’t have desperate illegals to abuse, they would have to pay fair wages.

Do you even live in Queens? The borough is home to the largest population of illegal immigrants of all ethnicities in New York City. You really should look at a neighborhood like Corona, see what becomes of an area once illegals start to dominate.

I’ll say it again, Alfredo and Wendy are takers/scammers. You tell me which bartender in this city is able to support a stay-at-home mother with three kids if they aren’t on government assistance? Please answer this question without venom in your response.

By the way, I’m a child of LEGAL immigrants. My family came to this country and worked their way up from the bottom without government assistance.

There are too many issues in this country plaguing its own citizens, why should we make illegal people a priority?




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Anonymous

Flores was caught ILLEGALLY in the US a decade ago and sent back to Mexico. He had to cross over to Canada ILLEGALLY and got caught. Canada should have sent him back to Mexico. He was returned to the US. He had a FULL DECADE to do the right thing and correct his ILLEGAL situation . HE CHOSE NOT to correct his situation. He should be sent back to Mexico. I wish I could enter someone’s home ILLEGALLY, demand to stay. Be thrown out of the home, enter again, demand to stay and demand free everything! If Jacksonhead and others can enter legally, so can the Flores Family. No sympathy from me.




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Anonymous 2

Yes, it would be best for everyone if you left this country if you are going to be like that.




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Ralph

Heartbreaking. Those poor children…. These folks are contributing to our society. Why are we tormenting them?? Thanks to the Jackson Heights Post for covering this story and posting the fundraising link. This is journalism at its finest.




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sunnysider

So open boarders are the solution…let anyone in…no checks…millions just walk in…fly in …whatever




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typical

Another Trumpeter too stupid to spell “borders” correctly but thinks they understand immigration policy.




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common sense

My heart goes out to this poor woman and her children for the situation they are in. I am part Mexican myself. But to say abolish ICE…..that will create more problems that even exist now. Secondly, what is the reason you and others say to abolish them – BECAUSE THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOB and upholding the laws they swore as Agents to uphold? Law makers can try to change laws or people can follow the processes that exist to become legalized before they enter country or are taken into custody. Getting rid of agency doing their job is not the answer.




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Tommy O

Nobody said that Sunnysider. Why is it only the extremes with people like you?




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Maria

More media just telling us a heartbreak story about how we should all feel so sorry now for every illegals plight. Too bad, Simple, don’t come here.




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Tommy O

@Maria- When you’re desperately impoverished and somebody dangles a low paying job in front of you, you jump at the opportunity to lift you and your family out of grinding poverty. These illegal immigrants are only responding in the same way all of us would respond if we were in their situation. We can see you’re Fox informed.




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Jacksonhead

I really don’t understand it. I am an immigrant married to US citizen (she’s naturalized as well) and got my green card 8 months after marroage. It cost me 2000$ to go thru the whole process. Since they have been married for 3 years what the hell was that guy waiting for??? If he was trying to be cheap then I can’t feel bad for them.




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JH resident

@Jacksonhead

What incentive did he have to become legal? Becoming legal means having to pay federal, state, and city income taxes. He’s been enjoying tax-free, cash income for over a decade. I’m sure this family is collecting food stamps and receiving medicaid benefits for all three children.

These people are takers and scammers with no intention of paying into the systems and benefits they’re consuming.




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Nancy

The problem is that he entered across the border and was not inspected and therefore he is not entitled to file for a green card here as you were. He would have to process through the embassy in his own country and under current law once he left the US he would be barred from coming back for 10 years. This is why most of the central Americans can’t legalize their status even if they are marries to Americans




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make MAGA again

So 3 children are now fatherless and living with their single American mother, and their working, tax-paying father will be separated from them. How does this make America great?

Shrek came out before ICE existed. Lets abolish it and return to the structure we had under the former INS.




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Amy

Not really. Is he buying clothes, food, and household goods everyweek. Most likely with 3 kids, so he’s paying taxes.




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tony

Amy, dear Amy. First, food and clothing are not taxed in NYC. And the pittance of sales-tax he pays on his “household goods” doesn’t even come close to the actual benefits he (and his family) TAKE from you and I.

Consider Mr. Alfredo Flores paying taxes on income from his “two” jobs as a bartender and waiter. We can only go 2 ways with this. 1) he is working off the books, paid cash, and not reporting any income. Or 2), he is working with a false, stolen, or otherwise fraudulent SS# (a federal crime). In which case you can be sure that he is claiming the maximum number of dependents on a W-9 form (also a federal crime). And we can be certain that he is not reporting any of his tips (another federal crime).

Next, let’s think about his wife Wendy Valverde. She was “making and selling ice cream” in NJ. I doubt that she collected and paid taxes on her sales. I also doubt that she raised the $10,000 needed for Alfredo’s bond. Enough about his contributions, stop with “paying taxes” myth. Would you like to now discuss his pilfering?

There are too many American citizens in want. We needn’t import these takers. Charity begins at home.

Amy, feel free to express your compassion. Contribute to Alfredo’s ‘get out if jail’ bond fund. Wife Wendy is still several thousand dollars short. Kick in so that he can be released pending trial. Give so that Mr. Flores can once again slither into the “shadows” for another decade.




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Sunnyside Mom

This is such a devastating story- I can’t imagine if this happened to my family. I feel like the consequences of being an immigrant are so harsh. No one should have to be seperated from their family because they aren’t a citizen. Ugh, it breaks my heart.




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