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. 

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