Immigration Policies hit a small southern Illinois town hard when a local businessman was arrested on a visa violation. Carlos Pacheco, 38, of West Frankfort was arrested without incident by immigration officials at his home on February 9th. Pacheco entered the United States legally more than two decades ago but had allowed his visa to expire while waiting to be granted citizenship. His arrest stunned the local community, most of whom thought that he had become a citizen long ago. Pacheco is married to a naturalized citizen and is the father of three small children.

His arrest has put a local face to the immigration issues in this town of avid Trump supporters.

Immigration arrest shocks local community

Pacheco is the manager of a local Mexican restaurant and is well-known in the local area for hosting fundraisers for individuals and community organizations. As the news of his arrest spread, the hashtag, #Istandwithcarlos, began trending on local social media accounts. Local community leaders, including members of the police department and the mayor, have written letters of support to immigration officials. These letters attest to the upstanding character of Pacheco and his service to the community at large.

Pacheco entered the United States legally more than two decades ago.

While waiting for his citizenship petition to move through the proper channels, his visa expired. Pacheco has two arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol on his record and that is believed to have delayed progress on his citizenship application.

Immigration policies sharply divide small town

Not everyone is a supporter of Pacheco, however.

At least one local news organization wrote a scathing article regarding him and his supporters. Many in the local community say that his arrest was fitting, given his immigration status. While some hope he gets it straightened out and is able to return permanently, others are less sympathetic.

The community overwhelmingly supported the election of President Trump and while they may like Pacheco personally, they are pleased with the enforcement of immigration policies that they feel have not been enforced for decades.

They cite the often criminal element that exists in the illegal immigrant communities and, in this case, hold up the DUI arrests of Pacheco as an example of additional criminal behavior.

In an interesting twist, Pacheco was apparently a vocal, though non-voting, supporter of the new President.