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ICE seizes longtime resident

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By Randy Patrick

A Bardstown resident who has been living in the United States for nearly 20 years has been seized by immigration authorities and is being held at a lockup in Boone County pending his deportation to Mexico.

Maximiliano Roblero, who will be 35 next month, was picked up on June 20 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who were looking for another man, named Carlos.

Roblero’s wife, Engracia Perez, said the men came to their home on Allison Avenue, and when her husband opened the door, the men said, “We’re looking for Carlos.”

“He said, ‘No, no, my name is Max.’ They said, ‘Oh, we’re looking for you,’” she said.

She said she and their three children have been able to see and talk to him only by closed-circuit TV at the holding facility.

“He cried for his babies,” she said. “It’s hard.”

Perez, who is from Guatemala, met her husband in the U.S. He came here 17 or 18 years ago, she said, and their children were born in this country.

The family has an immigration lawyer, Charles Nett of Louisville, but The Standard was not able to reach him before publication.

John Bauscher of Bardstown and his wife, Lynn, are friends of the Roblero family and own the house they live in.

“They’re pretty much an adopted family to us now,” he said.

On Monday, the couple was in Dalton, Ga. Bauscher said they were “trying to straighten up some things” on Roblero’s record.

He said Roblero had a charge of aggravated stalking from 2003, but served his probation. On the advice of his lawyer, he doesn’t want to talk about the Georgia case. But, he said, he hasn’t been in any trouble since, except for minor traffic offenses.

“He doesn’t even drink,” said Bauscher. “All he does is work. He’s a hard worker.”

He said Roblero is a laborer who works in paving and landscaping.

That’s how Bauscher came to know him, when he was working on his driveway.

He said Roblero came to Kentucky from Georgia to get away from his brothers, who were “rowdy,” and have all returned to Mexico.

Roblero is a member of the Catholic parish of the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, where he served as an usher.

“People know him there pretty well,” he said.

Bauscher said Roblero is from the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico, which has long been riven by violence.

“He was running for his life,” he said. “It’s bad down there.”

Roblero was only a boy then. He’s lived here longer than he lived there.

Sister Rose Marie Kirwan of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth also knows Roblero and his family because she’s been teaching Perez English as a second language.

Perez called her the morning the ICE officials came, and she arrived shortly before Bauscher did, but she didn’t get to see Roblero because he was being held inside a van. She asked several questions of the authorities, talked with Perez and the children, and later drove Carlos, the man ICE had been looking for, to a drug store parking lot and dropped him off there.

Bauscher said Roblero was taken to Lexington for processing before he was sent to the detention center in Boone County.

Prisoners in Northern Kentucky are usually transferred to Chicago then taken back to Mexico, often to Juarez across the border from El Paso, Texas.