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Northwest Ohio family celebrating Christmas with important court date coming up after ICE raids

Posted at 12:22 PM, Dec 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-25 23:10:29-05

The video on Eliseo Rodriguez De La Cruez's phone, showing mostly the inside of a Federal Agent's pocket, captures the few minutes his and his family's lives were changing forever.

"The first thing that I thought of is my kids, because we never knew what they were going to do with us," said Rodriquez De La Cruez.

Rodriquez De La Cruez and his son, Jimmy, were both taken into custody during an ICE raid on Corso's Flower and Gardening Center over the summer. Jimmy Rodriquez De La Cruez was released soon after, because he is allowed to be in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

But Eliseo Rodriquez De La Cruez was one of the 114 people arrested in raids on multiple Corso's locations that day.

Rodriquez De La Cruez is back home for Christmas, but a February court date in Cleveland is hanging over his head. It could determine if he's allowed to stay in the United States or if he'll be deported after almost 18 years.

Rodriquez De La Cruez said he crossed the border illegally with his son in his arms for a better chance to provide for his family. Now, he says violence and corruption back home would make returning there dangerous for him and his younger sons, who don't speak Spanish well and have only ever grown up in the United States.

Jimmy Rodriquez De La Cruez says he's been told his father's chances are about the same as a coin flip.

"Recently, I've seen some lawyers talking to other people that we know and they told them to just start packing up their bags," said Rodriquez De La Cruez.