Deportation raids affect Eugene restaurant

Last month, Luis Barrientos, who has been working at the restaurant for 12 years, was detained by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Posted: Jul 12, 2019 6:57 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2019 11:40 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- GJ's Family Restaurant in West 6th Avenue in Eugene is without a beloved employee.

Last month, Luis Barrientos, who has been working at the restaurant for 12 years, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

The owners say that Barrientos presented what looked like credible paperwork when he was hired over a decade ago. But when ICE called the restaurant asking the owner to verify his citizenship, he was unable to.


When Barrientos came to court to face an immigration judge, he was arrested. 

A long time customer of the restaurant, John Peters says that Barrientos doesn't deserve this. 

"I just don't know what to say," says Peters. "He's just an individual who if I were to pick a brother, it would be him. He's honest, he looks you in the face, he tells it like it is, he hustles."

These events come after President Trump announced the U.S. Government will move forward with their deportation raids starting this Sunday. Western Oregon isn't on the priority list, but immigration lawyers say there has been increased ICE activity in Lane County.

Abigail Molina of Molina Law Firm in Springfield says that illegal aliens should be aware of their rights, especially in these situations.

"Some people may be better off if they get picked up by ICE because they're kind of just in limbo right now, there's nothing they can apply for," says Molina. "If they get picked up and they're before an immigration judge they will be able to have options given to them. It's about preparing for the what if and feeling like there's a plan in place."  

Now, Barriento's family and friends are trying to get him home. They are currently working to raise money for an immigration lawyer. 

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