Earlier this year, Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco was unexpectedly thrust under an international spotlight when he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and his story made international headlines. This mini-series, "The Undocumented Immigrant Next Door," aims to shed more light on Hernandez’s journey to America, his ongoing legal battle, his family, and the Southern Illinois community that offered its support to his case. The weeklong series kicked off on Dec. 31 with The Southern Illinoisan naming Hernandez as its "Person of the Year." The newspaper chose Hernandez because his story puts a familiar face on a complex national debate playing out in our backyard, and illustrates the many ways in which immigration law, and rural America, are as messy as life itself.
WEST FRANKFORT — Earlier this year, Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco was unexpectedly thrust under an international spotlight when he was detaine…
WEST FRANKFORT — Twenty years ago, Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco set out to cross the U.S.-Mexican border. It wasn’t something he always wante…
Each time he heard back from home that his sister was doing better, he felt more sure that he had done the right thing — not by the law of the land, but the one guiding his heart.
WEST FRANKFORT — The year after returning to Mexico for his sister's funeral in 2002, about five years after he came to America by sneaking ac…
WEST FRANKFORT — It was a hot June Saturday afternoon. A mix of country and pop music filled the outdoor space outside of La Fiesta Mexican Re…
Hernandez said it would not be fair to uproot his boys, who have only known life in America, and move them to a foreign country.
WEST FRANKFORT — There are an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States.