Chicago – An Ohio judge ordered the immediate deportation of a young Hispanic detained 14 days ago along with members of his Aztec dance group as they were driving across several states to put on a show.
Judge D. Williams Evans Jr. ordered the immediate deportation of Joel Almeida Gonzalez, who had a previous deportation order and will be sent back to Mexico next Tuesday.
Gonzalez is one of five undocumented dancers who were driving from New York to Joliet, Illinois, to take part in an Aztec dance ceremony on Oct. 21.
Joel was traveling with his brother Erick Almeida Gonzalez and Alberto Vera Ramirez, Carlos Tirado Carmona and Byron Tzoc Guarchaj when they were stopped in Tiffin, Ohio.
All of the immigrants are from Mexico with the exception of Guarchaj, who is a Guatemalan citizen.
When their vehicle was pulled over, police found that the travelers had no documents and consequently handed them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The men were held in Seneca County Jail until Thursday.
Debra J. Pelto, spokeswoman for the detainees, told Efe that Tirado Carmona, freed on $5,000 bail, and Erick Almeida Gonzalez on $2,500 bail, were ordered to leave the country voluntarily by Dec. 18.
Vera Ramirez, who was let out on $1,500 bail, and Guarchaj, on $5,000 bail, face another appearance in court.
"The intention was to release them all, including the two who have been given a date for voluntarily leaving the country, so they at least have a chance to put their affairs in order in New York and say goodbye to their families," Pelto said.
The arrest of the Hispanics caused surprise in New York and Chicago where the Aztec dancers are known in artistic circles.
In New York last week volunteers collected donations at several points around the city and managed to come up with $3,000 toward paying the bail bonds. In Chicago groups formed to help the detainees' families.
Roberto Ferreyra of the Nahui Ollin dance group in Chicago told Efe that a change in immigration laws is vital in order to prevent incidents like this.
"There should be a way that people who contribute to this country can work," Ferreyra said. "It's a binational problem - there's free transit for trade and there ought to be free transit as well for those who work."