Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh woman who was in the process of gaining legal immigration status has been detained and told her whole family may have to return to Honduras.

Every six months for the past three years, David Ramirez and his wife, Cindy, traveled to Charlotte to continue their visa application process.

“We go, they just sign a paper, and then you go home,” Ramirez said.

Last week, the couple headed to Charlotte again, expecting the same routine, but this time his wife was detained.

Ramirez would have been detained too, he said, if not for his two daughters, who are U.S. citizens. Instead, he was allowed to leave, but given self-deportation orders.

“It’s like the 17th of June that I got to leave the country. I got to go to Charlotte with a ticket in hand,” he said.

Ramirez came to the United States 13 years ago from Honduras, where life was tough living with his father and five siblings.

“There was a time that there was no food in the house. There was nothing to eat because he was putting all of his money into our education,” he said.

Once Ramirez arrived in the United States, getting legal status wasn’t as easy as he anticipated.

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