A Georgia dad's hope of coming home to his family is waning as his latest request to stay in the U.S. is denied.
Omar Rogel is a husband and father of three. He came to the United States on a family visa with his mom and sister in the 1980s.
He is married to a U.S. citizen, who has been leading the fight to keep their family together. He considers Georgia his home, but now his life has taken a 180 turn.
"The world around me wasn't the world that I knew," Omar said."I felt like the oxygen was taken out of my chest."
Behind bars on the phone, Omar Rogel, takes us back to the moment he was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement. it happened after receiving a letter from ICE, asking him to come in for an interview. He did, and that's how ended up at Stewart Detention Center. His wife Alena suddenly thrown into single parenthood.
"It's hard. I mean, it's me. I'm doing this by myself," she said.
It's been a month now. She's raising three children on her own trying to make ends meet without her husband. A call from Omar confirming her worst fear.
"I just got done talking to ICE, I received a letter from ICE, and I'm sorry to tell you but the application was denied," he said.
The application was an I-246, a stay of removal, which would've allowed Omar to postpone his deportation that was ordered from 2016. He made two appeals the following year while trying to obtain his citizenship.
His mom is a naturalized U.S. citizen and his wife is a U.S. citizen.
His mother filed a petition for his visa in 2003 and his wife filed one in 2017. However, even with a green card, something you need to obtain U.S. citizenship, you can still be deported.*
"She was telling me why, why, why. I don't understand, I don't understand," he said.
Omar has misdemeanor criminal convictions which include trespass, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of an officer.
"It could be anywhere from two to 10 years of him being away from his family if he's deported
into a country he doesn't know, where Spanish is his second language," his wife said.
It's a family torn apart. Maddox, their oldest child, grips onto the memory of his daddy through a father's day gift.
"The reason I like wearing it is because the string smells like his cologne," he said.
"It breaks my heart because, you know, they're thinking daddy's going to be home soon and that's not going to be the case," Omar said.
He said he doesn't really know what is next. What he does know is that he will miss the goodnight hugs and kisses, the chaos of living with young children, and being his daughter's knight in shining armor.