Jose Escobar lost his legal status in a paperwork gaffe more than a decade ago when he was still a teen in Houston.

That slip-up, the fault of his mother who thought her child would be automatically included in her own renewal application, has trailed him ever since. Thursday it led to his surprise deportation to El Salvador, a country he hasn’t seen in 16 years.
The government’s decision to remove the 31-year-old father, who has no criminal record and is married to an American citizen, is the latest indication that President Donald Trump’s administration plans to deport practically any immigrant here illegally, even some like Escobar who were temporarily protected, who happens to fall into its cross hairs.

It comes just days after the president told Congress that he was removing gang members and drug dealers just as he had promised.

“Bad ones are going out as I speak,” Trump said.

Left behind now is Escobar’s wife Rose, a receptionist at Texas Children’s Hospital, and their two small children. It escalates the fear felt by many immigrants across the nation as they realize they are increasingly at risk.

“What the president is doing is going after everyone,” said David Leopold, an Ohio immigration attorney and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “This case is a tragic example of what’s happening on the ground.”

Rose Marie Ascencio-Escobar, 30, holds a photo of her husband Jose Escobar, 31.. Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle / © 2017 Houston Chronicle Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle Rose Marie Ascencio-Escobar, 30, holds a photo of her husband Jose Escobar, 31..
Jose called Rose at around 2:30 p.m. Thursday to tell her that he was in the San Salvador airport and too terrified to step outside. The removal came after their lawyer, Raed Gonzalez, requested a stay of deportation to reopen Jose’s case. The government never responded, he said.

Cesar Espinosa, executive director of the advocacy group FIEL Houston, said Jose’s deportation would heighten anxiety across the city.

“It just sends a shock wave through the community,” he said. “It’s all coming to fruition and it’s very scary.”

The Escobars had thought they were safe. Since 2012, Jose has had a temporary reprieve from deportation and a work permit. He checked in with immigration authorities every year.


Wife of detained immigrant rallies supporters to his cause Ana Deicaza, left, a volunteer with Asociación Amiga, provides informational flyers about the rights of immigrants at the Gracia Abundante Church on Wednesday in Conroe. New guidelines have immigrants scrambling for answers on legal Sheila Jackson Lee is a candidate for U.S. Representative for Texas’ 18th congressional district shown Tuesday September 20, 2016. (Jeremy Carter / Houston Chronicle) Jackson Lee seeks inquiry in pending deportation Rose Escobar’s reflection is visible in a photograph of her family. Her husband, Jose, is being held for deportation to El Salvador after he went for his annual check-in with immigration officials. Local immigrant facing deportation after checking in with
Then Trump’s administration last week issued its new guidelines, making almost every immigrant here illegally a priority for deportation. When the Escobars showed up at their routine appointment on Feb. 22, immigration agents told Rose to bid her husband goodbye.

She went outside and sobbed. Then she vowed to fight. She comforted herself that she had been here before, when Jose was first detained in 2011, and that she had won that battle. After an intense 7-month media and congressional campaign, immigration agents released Jose, granting him the reprieve.

His was part of a wave of provisional stays announced that year by the administration of former President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to focus the government’s limited resources on deporting violent criminals, rather than people like Jose with clean records who had been here for years and have American children.

Jose came here when he was 15, qualifying for temporary protected status for people fleeing widespread disasters in certain countries. Then his mother assumed her renewal application covered him.

When he finally figured out that his permit had instead expired, it was too late. The government had already initiated deportation proceedings. His lawyer told him not to show up at the court hearing and in his absence, a judge ordered him removed in 2006.

By then, Jose was married to Rose, his childhood sweetheart whom he met in a Houston middle school. They tried to apply for his green card through his marriage to an American citizen, but lawyers said that he might risk waiting years in El Salvador because he had been here illegally.

Not knowing what to do, they carried on with their lives. They had a son, Walter. Then in 2011, immigration agents arrested Jose on the old deportation order.

Rose recruited the help of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat, and in January 2012, Jose was released on an order of supervision, a provisional stay of deportation in a process known broadly as prosecutorial discretion.

But now the previous focus on violent criminals has been widened to almost anyone here illegally.

The change has swept fear across the country that has been heightened by widespread raids and incidents like the arrest this week of 22-year-old Daniela Vargas in Mississippi. Vargas previously had a protected status for young immigrants who were brought here illegally as children. Her permit expired last November, though she had since filed to renew it.

“This clearly sends a message,” said Bill Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “Now the dragnet is meant to capture whomever it captures.”

Some argue that is a good thing, in keeping with Trump’s promises during the campaign to stop illegal immigration.

“They are facing consequences for their choices,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington D.C. think tank advocating for reduced immigration, in an email. “Some people think it’s not fair, but many others think it’s not fair to … look the other way when people remain here illegally.”

Rose doesn’t think it’s fair to take her husband away from her children, especially when he was complying with immigration instructions and not committing any crimes beyond being here illegally – a situation he couldn’t fix.

“I’m begging President Donald Trump to look into my case and see if my husband is really destroying America,” Rose said at an emotional press conference.

She said her husband is shuttered in her grandmother’s house in San Salvador, afraid to go outside in case the capital city’s many gangs attacked him when they recognized his American clothes.

She worries about how she will explain it all to Walter, who is 7.

“He just went somewhere boring,” she told him last week.

Since then, she’s said that Jose is actually on vacation. But she knows she will have to explain it to her son soon. Her daughter Carmen, who is 2, is too young to understand.

Once again, Rose promised not to give up.

“My husband is coming back and he’s coming back legally,” she said. “I’m going to be his voice and my children’s voice and the voice of those families who are being torn apart.”


  1. First, ignorance of the law is no defense and the mother should have seeked proper consul besides her assumption.

    Second, Jose get phuck because MS13 is a reign of terror and he falls into membership profile base on his age of migration.

    Thirdly, ICE hates anything close to MS13…country of origin. Because they have rewards out for killing immigration employees.

    Jose get phuck…sorry to say.

      1. If a latino papers don’t say Argentina or Spain dem get shegg. Quena better mind dem dip har to some whey too :ngakak :ngakak

  2. If i had a situation where i had to report to ICE hell wuda freeze over before dem see me. Also, this is about getting rid of black and brown ppl,cuz den fraid they are going to be in the minority,not bout getting rid of “bad dudes.” where are the bad European white dudes being deported. Mek dem gwan karma a go reach dem racist American yah u see.

  3. then… rass claat siddung deh till dem come?? almighty peace what is this dem a grab everybody, and a get friskier a airport mi no like draws, dem did put me pon the machine a ft Lauderdale for secondary screening see ya dem lucky mi did have on draws the machine a blow up the dress and dem got some nerve a tell me fi hold it… all now mi no fart pon dem don’t u put mi deh fi it blow up okay them…… but u see all are going and we, we brand name worldwide people wid nappy hair, if dem a do dem so with dem pretty hair and fair skin

  4. PP u too bad, thank for those postings for we a tell people that them hold people fi simple things and dem a tell we nutten cyan go soo SEE FI OONU SELF OR CARRY THE NEWS WHO READ IT SPREAD THE NEWS, AND mi other half tell stop stress out myself for if mi drop dung the problem still going be here, not even little compassion some no have, nex ting mi naw too sorry for some other nation for if we was a fly on the wall dem no got nothing good to say bout us Jamaicans, most residential area where room used to rent a business deh deh thus compounding the problem HELP HELP WANTED POST UP ALL BOUT, AND NUFF PEOPLE FONE LOCK OFF, U SEE HOW HIM FAVA DEM OLD EFFIGI EENA FLOAT PARADE

  5. I knew Trump was not going to only go after crminals that was a lie, he said that to cover up his plans of removing everyone no one is safe, even if you have no criminal record, not even a green card is going to save you, the only thing is going to save a lot of us that citizenship papers that is all… I’m glad a decade ago my mother urged me to go and apply and at 1st I told her no I do not want to, I had my green card but my mother than said if you want to work any federal or city jobs etc you need to be a citizen so I went ahead and did it, I’m so glad I did because I do not put nothing pass ICE they might of been picking me up at work one day… It is scary my uncle is now up to deportation orders he has court date and his lawyer is telling him not to work and I told my uncle you had a minor offense even if you did not do a x amount of jail time do not go to that court, your diabetic you do not need to go let your lawyer go on your behalf but he said everything will be fine, I pray that it does because there is no family back home and the medication he needs he will not be able to get…
    We have four years of the terror that Trump is going to do… People who wants to come over illegally won’t be able to do that no more he will have all boarders or point of entry heavily guarded.

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