LOS ANGELES -- On the verge of tears, Gerardo Quiñonez said he didn’t know what the future holds for him, now that he has lost both his home and his wife, Blanca Cardenas, who was recently deported to Mexico by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Blanca, the mother of a 14-year-old son, Luis, and a 19-month-old daughter, Gloria, was arrested and deported while protesting the foreclosure of her former home two weeks ago.
On Tuesday evening, protesters joined Quiñonez, an immigrant from the Mexican state of Durango, who is now a U.S. citizen, to hold a candlelight vigil outside the house where he lived for 10 years.
Quiñonez said he and wife had been fighting with Bank of America to keep their home. The couple filed for bankruptcy, thinking that would protect them from foreclosure, but it didn’t: the bank sold their house to a new owner.
During the vigil, police told protesters that no one would be able to enter the house until the case was settled in court. Quiñonez took the news as a positive sign.
Quiñonez, who said he was devastated, was in good spirits as a result of the support of the protesters and community organizations. Gloria Saucedo, president of Hermandad Mexicana, one of the groups that participated in the vigil, said the family is facing a double tragedy: the loss of their home and the separation of their family.
"Immigration laws are broken; that's why we have to fight to change laws," said Saucedo, who noted that the Latino community is the most affected by the foreclosure crisis and no one seems to be helping them.
Saucedo said her organization is working with 100 Latino families to fight the foreclosure crisis.
“We’ve been fighting the foreclosure of homes for three years, with a 15 percent success rate of homeowners being able to keep their homes,” she said.
The Sanchez family, who lost their home four years ago, and the González family, who lost their home two years ago, were not among the 15 percent.
"It's really hard, with a lack of jobs and expensive mortgages," said the González family, who said those were key factors in the loss of their San Fernando home.
The two families joined in the vigil to show their support for Blanca and her husband Gerardo.
“We are here to support Blanca, hoping other families don’t have to face separation and the loss of their homes. It’s [happening to] them now, we don’t know [who it could happen to] tomorrow,” they said.
On Sunday, Occupy L.A. and other civic organizations are planning a march that will leave from Placita Olvera at 10:00 a.m. to protest deportation and foreclosure.
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