Free Javi: Popular Dallas Artist Faces Deportation

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DALLAS - Javier Valadez was living his American Dream. He was an up and coming artist working full-time and earning an engineering degree.

“He’s well known by thousands and thousands of people in this city and by hundreds of artist and musicians,” his friend Stephen Ketner  said.

Valadez also co-founded and helped run a music magazine that focused on local artists. The mag was voted "Best Magazine" by the Dallas Observer last year.

But before he got his American Dream, Valadez lived in Mexico. His parents brought him to the states when he was 12 and never obtained legal status. Now he could face deportation.

“Right now all we had was a hearing. We looked at the paperwork saying why they're alleging he is deportable. We are going to research our avenues to see if we can find relief,” his attorney Robert Simmons told NewsFix.

“All of his connections are here -- his job, his life, his wife, his daughter," Ketner said.

Immigration agents arrested Valadez last week at his home. Casandra Heitman, who is Valadez’s fiancée, was on a trip to visit Valadez’s family in Mexico when she got the news.

“His mom told me she got the bad news over the phone. I’ve been just in kind of shock.”

Wednesday night, friends are holding a Free Javi event in Deep Ellum to raise money and awareness for Valadez and help him keep his American Dream.

Meanwhile, his one-year-old daughter Sophia is just trying to figure out where her dad is.

“Every time the door rings she's like, 'Da-da?' And my heart just melts,” said Heitman.

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