LETTER: Gaetz came to family's rescue

March 4, 2021
In The News
Every American has faced some form of trial and tribulation this past year. With the coronavirus pandemic pausing life as we knew it, I look for hope and graciousness wherever I can find it.
 
And when we needed a blessing the most, Congressman Matt Gaetz and his office delivered on a promise to help my son.
 
Five years ago, I ventured to Honduras on a mission trip where I adopted my son, Gustavo Pineda-Mendoza. He’s a joyful young man with aspirations to serve this country in the United States Navy.
 
Gustavo, however, was not eligible for automatic citizenship, and the coronavirus pandemic delayed the process of earning a green card. 
 
While working in Okaloosa County, my son was pulled over by law enforcement and faced the devastating possibility of deportation. Over a period of two weeks, my son was transferred to four different corrections facilities. Gustavo is a model student and star high school athlete but was moved around like someone who belonged in jail. 
 
On Feb. 3, Gustavo was released from an ICE detention center after Congressman Matt Gaetz’s office called the agency and requested his release. Thank you, Congressman Gaetz, for swiftly bringing my son home. Our family will never forget his office’s advocacy that reunited us with Gustavo.