SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a story we’ve been following for years. The case of Guatemalan immigrant Lucio Perez.

The Western Massachusetts community continues to rally behind him pending a court hearing on Friday.

22News sat down with him to learn more about his immigration case that’s been reopened before the Hartford immigration court.

Lucio Perez immigrated from Guatemala seeking safety and security, he told 22News about his treacherous and lengthy path to stay in the United States. 22News took a look at his story and the message he has for others enduring the same battle.

Lucio Perez came to the United States in 1999 with his wife and 2-week-old son, looking for a fresh start and to help his family back home.

“There weren’t resources, there was a lot of poverty. It was difficult, I had gotten sick over there. And my dad didn’t have money he couldn’t work and one way or another I had to go to the United States. He would ask how are you going to do that and I would say I don’t know,” said Perez.

And at 41 years old Perez is facing a difficult battle still as he fights to stay in this country with his family.

Perez entered a sanctuary in 2017 at First Church in Amherst to wait on a decision on the appeal of his immigration case. He left the church in 2021 after being granted a stay of removal.

“God’s love makes us come together and unite. God’s love doesn’t have any borders he doesn’t see any of us differently we are the ones who do that and pick out the differences,” said Perez.

In April, a 6-3 Supreme court case decision allowed for his case to be reopened.

When asked what his message to the community is and those watching at home Lucio told 22News he hopes that on June 14th as his case is reopened that things can finally be resolved.

“One day we’re on top and the next day we’re at the bottom. Today I can be going through this situation and tomorrow it could be another neighbor but I wouldn’t turn my back on him I’ll tell them I went through that and I am with you. Give it your all because you can do it,” said Perez.

Members of the community have contributed letters of support for Lucio and his case.