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In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire repair stop

An immigration appointment ended with the separation of this Guatemalan family. Victor Chavez was sent to a detention center. His wife, Matías 'Maty' Very, got an electronic shackle. But that has not prevented her from taking over the family business.
Por:
C.J. Karp
Publicado: 23 Jul | 11:46 AM EDT
In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire...
1/19
March 8 was a fateful day for Matías 'Maty' Muy, a 42-year-old Guatemalan woman. An appointment to renew her work permit ended with her husband in detention and her with an electronic ankle monitor. But the woman decided she had to keep fighting for her 13-year-old son Jimmy. Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision
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In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire...
2/19
Maty's Jupiter, Florida shop is called "Tikal Tires," in reference to the Mayan ruins in their native Guatemala. The family has lived in Jupiter for a decade. They opened the shop four years ago with savings they'd earned after years of working double shifts at different jobs in the U.S. Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision
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Maty displays a phone photo of Victor, Maty and Jimmy at an event honori...
3/19
Maty came to the U.S. in 2003. She was the youngest of 12 siblings and wanted to seek better economic opportunities and help her family. Her husband, Victor Chavez, who is now 40, arrived years before, in the early 1990s, fleeing from the violence of the war in Guatemala. The army had killed Victor's father and other relatives. In the photo, Maty shows a photo of her with her husband Victor and son Jimmy. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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Jimmy helps a customer find a tire he’s looking for.
4/19
Although Chavez has death records that show the army killed several members of his family during the war, he never sought asylum. He arrived when he was 14 and went to work in the fields of Immokalee (Florida) picking tomatoes and cucumbers. He then went to a chicken processing plant in Ohio. In the picture, Jimmy helps a customer at the shop. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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Maty and Jimmy look over the new signers on an online petition for Victo...
5/19
In Ohio, Víctor Chávez had his first encounter with immigration authorities. Although he was not detained then because he was a minor, the authorities took his information. According to his lawyer, Héctor Díaz, Chavez had to appear before an immigration court but he did not speak English or Spanish at the time, just a Mayan dialect. Frightened, he returned to Immokalee and missed his court appearance. So a deportation order was issued in absentia. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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Sparky, the family dog uplifts Maty with a kiss during a visit to the Ti...
6/19
Víctor Chávez and Maty Muy met years later at a church in Providence, Rhode Island, where he had gone to seek better work opportunities. That was Muy's first stop in the United States. In the photo, Maty with the family dog, Sparky. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire...
7/19
Maty had gone to beauty school in Guatemala, so she agreed to cut Victor's hair. That was the start of a friendship. Within a few months they were living together. In the picture, the family's living room in Jupiter. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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Jimmy serenades Maty with the traditional Mexican song “Las Mañanitas” i...
8/19
Although a doctor had told Maty she wouldn't be able to have children, she became pregnant after only a few months. Jimmy was born in 2003. "Victor is a very responsible father. He loves his son. From the moment he saw Jimmy, his life was changed. He said: 'I'm going to dedicate myself to him,' and he's what he's done until now," Maty says. Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision
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In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire...
9/19
In Rhode Island, another run-in with immigration authorities led to a deportation order for the couple (the second for Victor). Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision
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In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire...
10/19
The couple didn't understand their immigration situation until a few years ago, after they'd settled in Jupiter, when they went to consult with attorneys about Jimmy's future. Under the Obama administration, a lawyer obtained work permits for the couple. But those documents have now lost their validity. Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision
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In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire...
11/19
After the initial shock, Maty decided to take over the business. "I have heard women say, 'I would not do this because this is a man's job,' but I have to be a strong woman. I have to fight," Maty said on a recent Saturday. Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision
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Maty sometimes breaks down when regular customers come in and ask for Vi...
12/19
Sometimes customers come in and ask for Victor. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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A customer, concerned about what was going on, asks Maty what she should...
13/19
Other times they ask for her advice. This woman, worried about what happened with the Chávez-Muy family, asks Maty what to do during an upcoming appointment with immigration. "Do not take your husband, take your lawyer," the Guatemalan advises. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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Jimmy speaks to Victor every afternoon, this day in the Tikal Tire gara...
14/19
Victor calls his family every day from detention. In the picture, Jimmy talks to him from the workshop. "I love you too," he says before hanging up. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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Victor calls Maty daily. He often discusses the business with her, or sh...
15/19
Maty often takes advantage of Victor's calls to seek advice on the workshop. "When he calls me, he says, 'Maty do this, do that thing.' Then he guides me in everything. He says, 'You can do it, you are a strong woman.' And that encourages me. Even though he's there, he influences my decisions," she says. Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision
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The ICE Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach, Florida, where Vic...
16/19
Sunday is visiting day. Maty and Jimmy get up early to travel to Pompano Beach, an hour from Jupiter, to the Broward Detention Center where Victor is detained. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire...
17/19
On Sundays, they also go to church, the Pentecostal Church of God. "I only find peace when I go to church," Maty says. "God strengthens me, God helps me so that the next day I wake up and keep fighting." Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision
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Maty leads her church congregation in song during a Sunday afternoon chu...
18/19
Maty and Jimmy go to church three or four times a week and receive support from the other members of the congregation. Foto: C.J.Karp | Univision
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In photos: With her husband in ICE detention, she runs the family's tire...
19/19
"It's the only place I feel free," says Maty. At church, she wears a skirt, which shows the shackle on her ankle. She says she knows she won't be judged at church. Foto: C.J. Karp | Univision