Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Youth leader forced out of U.S. (Mountain View Voice)

Youth leader forced out of U.S.
Lucio Caciano-Miranda tells a judge he'll leave the country by July

by Daniel DeBolt
Mountain View Voice Staff
Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 11:30 AM

Lucio Caciano-Miranda, the local youth leader who worked out of St. Athanasius Catholic Church on Rengstorff Avenue, has agreed to leave the country due to deportation proceedings brought against him by the federal government.

Caciano-Miranda, 37, told a San Francisco judge recently that he will leave the country by July to pursue studies for seven years at a seminary in Mexico City. He will not be allowed to return to the U.S. for 10 years.

"Many guys are in gangs and they don't understand life very well, and I try to help them be good people," Caciano-Miranda was quoted as saying last week.

The arrest of Caciano-Miranda, a Sunnyvale resident, sparked a local outcry and gained national attention when it happened last October. He was arrested by undercover Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on Oct. 10, 2007 while visiting his goddaughter and her mother in Sunnyvale.

According to reports, the officers knocked on the door with an arrest warrant, and when they couldn't find the person they were looking for, they instead arrested Caciano-Miranda, an undocumented gardener who had been in the U.S. for 15 years.

Despite his work in the church, Caciano-Miranda could not obtain a visa to stay in the U.S. In her remarks from the bench, Judge Colly Weber said she regretted that immigration law provided no other options.

According to Phil Cosby, a community leader at St. Athanasius and a member of Peninsula Interfaith Action, Caciano-Miranda coordinated a retreat for 40 local at-risk youth, ranging in age from early teens to early 20s, just last month.

"We're going to lose him as a youth leader -- that's a big impact," Cosby said. "He was the best one. They have been trying to train others to step in."

St. Athanasius is planning to hold a large event in Caciano-Miranda's honor before he leaves. A date has not yet been determined.

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