Man torn from pregnant wife and three kids after being detained during routine ICE check-in

High school senior Alex Leon-Alvarez doesn’t want to be deported, so the Bronx teen made sure last week to fill out the papers he needs to be able to stay.

His dad may not be so lucky.

Demetrio Leon-Alvarez, who brought Alex over the border as an infant, is being held in an immigration detention center.

And unless the government has an unexpected change of heart, he’ll be torn from his three children and pregnant wife.

“There are other people outside who have robbed and killed and raped — but I didn’t do anything to anyone. And I’m in here,” Leon-Alvarez said in a phone interview with the Daily News.

“I want to be back with them and they need me. We all want to be together.”

Both father and son are navigating President Trump’s immigration policies — and the family of five is on the verge of being split apart.

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"I guess there’s no choice but to follow the law,” said 17-year-old Alex, as he filled out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival paperwork last week at a Legal Aid office.

“If we do not follow it, there will be more consequences.”

His 41-year-old father shared that law-abiding instinct — and it cost him.

The undocumented immigrant was detained two weeks ago during his routine check-in with ICE.

Since then, he’s been separated from Alex, his wife Dalia, who’s six months pregnant, their 6-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, both of whom are citizens.

Dalia, 37, said she felt powerless. She crossed over the border with her husband and is also undocumented.

"I feel a little angry about the laws of the country," she said. "The laws are very tough. In order for people to have rights, they have to be born here."

The family’s pastor at St. Rita of Cascia Church in Mott Haven has vouched for the family. Fr. Pablo Gonzalez said they attend Mass two or three times a week and participate in a church group. The kids attend a religious education program.

“Demetrio is a very good, honest, upright family man who takes care of his children and wife, who is at present expecting another child. He is hard-working and supports his family with his work,” Gonzalez wrote in a letter to immigration authorities seeking leniency.

“I truly consider it appalling to separate, divide and destroy this family. I can only think with great sadness of what their suffering would be and the harm it would cause them if this were to happen.”

Leon-Alvarez had supported his family by working 48 hours per week at an Associated Supermarket fish counter, earning $11 an hour.

He entered the country illegally in 2001 but crossed paths with ICE following a raid while riding a bus in Rochester in 2009. He signed a document agreeing to leave the country but remained in New York.

In 2013, he got a summons for walking between subway cars. The case was dismissed, but the infraction put him on ICE’s radar.

By then, President Barack Obama had implemented a policy prioritizing who should be deported. Alvarez’s clean criminal record allowed him to stay.

But at his first check-in at ICE offices under President Trump, he was detained.

“They’re model recipients of all of these humanitarian programs extended under Obama,” Legal Aid attorney Casey Dalporto said about Leon-Alvarez and his son. “They’ve just led exemplary lives.”

She was guardedly optimistic Alex would be able to renew his “dreamer” status.

But Alex has started imagining life without his dad.

“I told my mom if she wants she could go back with the kids back to Mexico. And I’ll stay here and work,” he said.

An ICE spokeswoman gave no indication that any relief was on the horizon for Alex’s father.

“ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removed from the United States,” agency spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow said.

Nationwide, ICE has made 43% more arrests since Trump took office compared to the same period last year.

Deportations, however, are down slightly. As of Sept. 9 — three weeks before the end of the fiscal year — ICE had deported 211,068 immigrants. The previous fiscal year, it deported 240,255 people.

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