ICE’s arrest of landscaper on 1999 deportation order devastates family, employer


Please read these words.

Jim McKeever

MelissaVixthaGirls Justino Vixtha’s May 22 detainment by ICE has been rough on his wife, Melissa Vixtha, and the couple’s three daughters. Melissa poses for a portrait with Rubi, 14, left, and Priscilla, 10. Korrina, 15, wasn’t available. “I just want him home,” Melissa said. “I want our family back, our life back. My kids were happy. We were happy. This has put us straight through hell.” Photo (c) Michelle Gabel.

It was bad enough, Carol Watson said, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested the head of her landscaping crew in May, the busiest time of year at her greenhouse near Syracuse, New York.

But what two ICE officers said when they told her they had arrested Justino Vixtha made it worse.

“They told me they didn’t have to arrest him,” Watson said. “He has legitimate documentation. They said it was just ‘their call.’ ”

Vixtha, 44, has been in the

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