GREENSBORO, N.C. – Andy Marchi decided to become a City of Greensboro firefighter because his parents always told him to think of others.
“My dad and mom always taught me to put others in front of myself,” he said.
Marchi saves lives for a living, but right now there’s one life he can’t save and that’s his dad’s.
“I can’t really help him out. That’s kind of rough and it really hurts,” he said.
His dad, Nestor Marchi, is an illegal immigrant from Brazil. He brought the family to the United States in 1994 in search of opportunity.
“My goal was I come here and give him something and give my family a better life,” Nestor said.
Nestor overstayed his visa and began working as a contracted airline mechanic. In 2004 he was caught in an immigration enforcement raid at his workplace.
The Department of Homeland Security asked Nestor to give them information on fraud and abuse in the airline industry. He agreed, and they gave him a work permit.
From 2005 to 2012 Nestor checked in with immigration every 30 days. After 2012, he started doing yearly check-ins.
He would alert immigration of any changes in address and they would give him a work permit.
But in April 2017 Nestor was told he needs to leave by June 15.
“Life ended to me because being here for that long it’s just I’m trying to be American now,” he said.
Nestor plans to follow orders and has already bought a plane ticket to go back to Brazil on June 14.
But he is hoping immigration will give him more time, because he has congestive heart failure and a host of other medical challenges.
Nestor and his son worry the slow-moving health care system in Brazil will leave him without a doctor’s appointment for up to a year and Nestor can’t survive that.
“Knowing my dad, that he has to go back and without anything lined up, knowing the way Brazilian medicine is, knowing the way the hospital and doctors are, that’s a death sentence,” Andy said.
Nestor’s attorney, Jeremey McKinney, is working up the chain of command in Immigration and Customs Enforcement to see if they will delay Nestor’s deportation so that he can get his health situation in order.
Nestor says he feels like if someone took a second look at his story, they may give him a second chance.
“I feel that people should be more humane more you know, understanding, case by case — why? See if it’s true, that’s what I’m asking for,” he said.
Nestor hopes he can get his medical plans set so that one day he can return to the United States and be with his family.
“Can get me something that can keep me alive because I want to come back, I want come and see my son and they are talking about kids, I want to see the grandkids,” he said.