But they are not giving up hope that the deportation scheduled for Tuesday morning will be voided, or at least delayed.
Lara Lopez, 37, the father of four American children, is an undocumented immigrant who has been living in the United States since 2001. He worked in agricultural jobs and others, including his current job of packing cookies and crackers for Pepperidge Farms in Willard.
He was caught by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through a police tip in 2008, but was allowed to stay and work in the country even after a 2011 deportation order was issued.
This year, under an illegal immigrant crackdown, he was ordered to buy a one-way ticket to Mexico City. His flight departs at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
His attorney, David Leopold of Cleveland, filed one last appeal Friday as the family tries to remain strong.
Meanwhile, the family waits.
"They are praying a lot and so are a lot of other people," said Lynn Tramonte, director of the immigrant defense group, America's Voice. "Jesus has been spending all his time with his children, trying to keep their spirits up. It's getting harder for him.
"The family has been getting signatures on petitions and contacting elected officials, but they are scared, really scared, that he will be taken away from them," she said.
Last weekend, the family and supporters gathered about 400 more signatures in downtown Willard to a add to a petition already signed by 34,000 people in person and on-line asking U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Holmes County) to intervene with ICE on Lara Lopez' behalf.
Gibbs' office has not returned calls to The Plain Dealer on the issue, but on Friday a Gibbs staffer met with a group of Willard and Ashland-area religious leaders to talk about the case.
Dustin White, pastor of the Radial Church of Canton, said the staffer reported that they had met with Lara Lopez and reached out to ICE on his behalf, but nothing changed.
"We said the reality is that Mr. Gibbs needs to do more," White said. "What if Jesus was his father or brother or the man who sits next to him in church? Law and compassion are not mutually exclusive."
The group also said it plans to pursue discussion on the economic impact of the current immigration policies.
"Bob Gibbs is a farmer," said Amanda Hoyt, an evangelical Christian in Columbus, organizing the religious group. "He understands what farmers are up against. Farmers in our state lose millions of dollars every year because they don't have enough workers to plant the fields and pick the crops.
"Farmers are now fearing immigration raids," she continued. "Farming is hard enough, it's time to help the farmers and make their workers feel safe. This is more than just saving one man, it's much bigger than that."
Staff members for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said he supports Lara Lopez. They said Brown has "been in touch with ICE" about the case. Brown's staff has met with Lara Lopez as well.
Brown has supported the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013 to increase border security and create a path to citizenship for those willing to work for it. The bill was ultimately defeated.
"Tearing apart families who are working and paying taxes is not the way to fix our broken immigration system," Brown said.
Lara Lopez first came to America in 2001 after he was unable to find work in his native Chiapas, Mexico. He said he needed money to support his mother and sisters because his father had died when he was an infant.
He said he first went to Florida to pick fruit before moving to Willard.
His immigration problems came in 2008 when he was stopped by by police who reported him to ICE.
Lara Lopez reported to immigration officials for years and was permitted to work, even after 2011 when an immigration judge ordered him deported.
Under the Obama administration, ICE concentrated on deporting illegal immigrants involved in serious crimes and letting people like Lara Lopez, who had never been arrested for a crime, alone, said Leopold.
When Lara Lopez reported to ICE in March, he was told to prepare to be deported. ICE has been more aggressive in deporting all illegal immigrants under President Donald Trump's administration.
Lara Lopez said in his time in the U.S., he has paid taxes and has never used public aid such as welfare, food stamps, housing assistance or unemployment compensation.
Last year, he bought a modest house in Willard. Now he worries what will happen if he is deported.
He said his wife will not be able to keep up the payments on the $62,000 mortgage on her wages. He said he would try to find work in Chiapas and send money back, but feared it would not be enough.
Tramonte said if Lara Lopez is deported, America's Voice would set up a GoFundMe account to help.
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