Local News

Community rallies to save Benson pastor from deportation

Posted July 2, 2014

— More than 200 people attended a vigil and marched through downtown Benson Wednesday night to save a local pastor from deportation.

For Lorena Siliezar, the effort was to help bring her husband home.

“They said we are coming for him. He has a retaining order for deportation,” she said through an interpreter.

Jose Armando Siliezar-Sevilla, 48, was arrested at his Benson home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on June 3 for lying on an application to adjust his immigration status.

Siliezar-Sevilla was convicted of drug possession with intent to sell in Los Angeles in 1993, and after serving more than two years in prison, was deported to Mexico. His supporters said he soon returned to the United States as a changed person, and has since been a religious mentor and community leader in Benson.

While completing an application for temporary protected status in July 2010, supporters said Siliezar-Sevilla was told by a lawyer to not mention his felony conviction. He is also accused of stating on an immigration application that he was never deported.

Siliezar-Sevilla is charged with alien registry fraud; fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents; and reentry of removed alien, according to a federal indictment. He is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Raleigh on August 18.

“He did break the law. We agree with that," said Mariela Lopez, his daughter. "But he deserves human rights, he does not deserve to be treated like an animal."

Siliezar-Sevilla is a diabetic who needs immediate medical attention, family members said. One of his toes was recently amputated, a public defender said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh was unable to comment on Siliezar-Sevilla’s medical condition. A spokesperson for the Mecklenburg County jail, where Siliezar-Sevilla is being held, said inmates receive medical treatment around the clock.

But family and supporters say he needs outside treatment, not detention. They started an online petition to gain support for his release.

"It is an emergency. He is sick. He needs attention. He needs a family," Siliezar said.


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  • Super Hans Jul 3, 2014

    The key word is "white". That makes it all OK for them.

  • Olenc Native Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    Give unto Cesar...

  • Joseph Smith Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    If the laws were enforced we would not be having this discussion. It's only because illegals can ignore the laws with impunity that these people think he can stay.

  • veryfrustrated1 Jul 3, 2014

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    The rancher that you referenced is a perfect example of what happens when we stop properly enforcing our laws. If I remember correctly this rancher stopped paying for his cattle to graze on public lands back in 1993. He has been allowed to ignore the law for so long that he no longer thinks that it applies to him. We have now allowed the exact same thing with illegal immigrants. They no longer think that our laws apply to them either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • veryfrustrated1 Jul 3, 2014

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    I am a staunch conservative and I AGREE WITH YOU!!! The law is the law and should be applied fairly and equally for all of us. Age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. should not have anything to do with the application of the law. Please stand with me and like minded people to see that each of these individuals receive fair due process and then fully adhere to the rulings of the courts!

  • Ty Shrake Jul 3, 2014
    user avatar

    " do you get to pick and choose which laws you like? If so, what is the determining factor?"

    Sure, why not. The President breaks the law constantly. Why should anyone else follow it?

  • veryfrustrated1 Jul 3, 2014

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    My Christian Brother, PLEASE do explain this aggressive policy of deportation of which you speak! In case you are unaware, the obama administration now counts all immigrants who have even just touched our border and left of their own volition as deported, unlike all previous administrations. Actual deportations are down dramatically under the current president!

  • Jul 3, 2014

    Isn't it fun?? Reading all the comments about "he broke the law". Why YES HE DID. And of course, our right wingers are calling on him to be strung up. And they do have a point. He broke the law, now he should pay the price. BUT, and here's the thing.... just a month or so ago, another man who was breaking the law was held up in the highest regard and even admired and applauded by these same right wingers FOR BREAKING THE LAW. They were even advocating armed rebellion and overthrow of the government in some cases. So, which is it?? If you are a right winger, do you get to pick and choose which laws you like? If so, what is the determining factor? If the person breaking the law happens to be an old white rancher, is it OKAY to BREAK THE LAW? Or is it only illegal immigrants that are bound by our laws? Explain it to me in words I will understand.

  • veryfrustrated1 Jul 3, 2014

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    And THAT IS MY POINT!!!!!!!

  • umop apisdn Jul 3, 2014

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    Let me add that it's also about sustenance. We can accept everyone that comes across the border (illegally or otherwise). There's also a question of what does it mean when one person comes here legally. Will that open the door for them to bring in their family? Immigration should not be considered a right of people outside this country. Look at the situation with the Somalis in the MN (I think that's where they are)