Special to the Times-Free Press
Family, neighbors, and local community organizers came together Monday, February 5 in Maverick Square to hold a peaceful demonstration to demand Justice for Marco Flores.
At six years of age, Marco came to the United States from El Salvador, as an immigrant with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – a designation granted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to foreign-born nationals unable to return to their home countries due to safety concerns. Once in the US, Marco allegedly fell victim to repeated sexual abuse. The experience caused Marco to suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally for many years. At age 17, Marco did the unthinkable, and took the life of his rapist to protect a younger sibling.
After completing his 15-year sentence for good behavior, Marco was released, but is now a convicted felon, and has lost his TPS designation. The system has failed Marco again. Now held in ICE custody, Marco is set to be deported to El Salvador, a country which he has not stepped foot in since he left as a six-year-old child. With this, Marco will suffer a second punishment. Many in the community see Marco’s deportation as unjust. Like many victims of abuse, Marco has never been allowed to heal from his trauma. Deportation to El Salvador, where he has no support, will only contribute to his suffering.
The supporters at the rally were seeking justice for Marco Flores and advocating for all victims of child abuse.