Undocumented families across the country fear being separated by Immigration Customs and Enforcement officials. A Honduran family is Chicago was heading toward this outcome until their five-year-old’s words touched a federal immigration judge.

Iker Velásquez arrived in the US when was a toddler.

His parents, who were peace activists, decided to leave Honduras with him because they feared for their lives. The Honduran family crossed three borders and settled in Waukegan, just outside of Chicago.

“Waukegan is my home,” Iker told a federal immigration judge. “I live here.” 

On Friday, April 14, Iker went to court with his mom, Evelyn Velásquez.

The family was accompanied by supporters who prayed for them to be granted asylum and avoid deportation. 

Iker was joined by 40 other children in the same situation, who wanted to have their voices heard.

“He’s from a gang-infested country and he traveled 2,000 miles and showed up at the footstep of the US border with all of the other children in 2014,” Chris Helt, Iker’s attorney, told ABC7

Iker was too young to remember Honduras but knows he doesn’t want to go back.

“In Honduras, there are spiders and bad persons,” he told ABC7. “That’s why I don’t want to get back there.”

The five-year-old will have to wait until November 2019 for a final decision on his family’s case. Until then, he can stay in the US with his American-born baby brother. The Velásquez family is fighting, along with 40 other families, to avoid deportation. They are all being hosted by a Waukegan church.