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Community rallies behind Independence restaurant owner and his American dream

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A longtime restaurant owner and loved community member in Independence will not be deported after he's held by federal immigration authorities for several weeks.

A scary past few weeks not only for his family but the community of Independence who have all welcomed him with open arms.

Now, he's coming back to Independence where he's built the American Dream. All thanks to nearly 40 letters from people in Independence who served as character witnesses at his bond hearing this morning. 

When you walk into Del Rio in Independence, it's hard not to see Miguel Hernandez Picano's American Dream.

The American flag proudly hangs in the middle of his restaurant.

Sue Ann Raymond comes to Miguels' restaurant every Sunday.  

"He's friendly, he's caring, he's giving," said Raymond. "What more can we ask of him?"

She's not alone. Almost everybody in town has made Del Rio their favorite Mexican restaurant in town. 

While the food may be good, it's something else that keeps them coming back. 

"It just seems like he's a friend," said Independence resident Keith Megonigle. "The minute you start talking to him, you see like he's a friend."

A hard working immigrant who not only operates a successful restaurant, but a family man. He has two American-born children. But he's know best as a man who always has his heart open to the people of Independence. 

He has donated food to community events and taught kids the Spanish language and heritage. 

"We're a very white community, 94%," said Raymond. "We need diversity here. The two point something percent that are Hispanic, they need a role model. He is that role model."

Which is why this community fought for him to stay here. They poured in donations through GoFundMe and signed a petition for change. 

"As far as I'm concerned, he's an upright citizen," said Raymond. "He's made a mistake, we all have."

Miguels' lawyer says its going to be a long process moving forward. He hopes to get Miguel documentation so he can stay in Independence where he calls home. 

Community members who went to Miguels bond hearing in Omaha, Nebraska Immigration court plan on picking Miguel up tomorrow from the Hardin Community Correctional Center, where he is currently being held. 

A judge ordered Miguel on bond after he was deemed not dangerous and not a flight risk. 
    

    

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