Manolo Donis came to the United States as a teenager to help his struggling family in Guatemala. An employer's effort to get Donis a green card came to a halt when her restaurant closed. Now he is fighting deportation.
Donis was eager to get involved in the community. He became a volunteer firefighter in Rocky Hill, N.J. He rose to become the department's top responder. He is now the department's captain.
Donis says he wants to give his children the kind of life that is not possible in his native country.
Rocky Hill Fire Chief Todd Harris praises Donis as "a dedicated worker" who is an asset to the community.
Donis enjoys a close bond with his fellow firefighters, who have attended his immigration hearings in a show of support. Watching the process for trying to obtain a green card -- through the experience of their captain -- has been an eye-opener for Donis's colleagues.
Many in the predominately white, affluent Rocky Hill community have rallied around Donis. "I am amazed," he says.
Donis's mother, Melinda Del Cid, tells Fox News Latino from her home in Guatemala that she is not surprised her son is active in his adopted homeland. "My son has always been very giving," she says.
Though he is in a legal limbo, and unable to travel to Guatemala to visit the parents he has not seen in more than a decade, Donis says he feels grateful for the life he has in the United States.
Donis is hoping that a new policy by the Obama Administration -- calling for a halt to deportations that are pending while each is reviewed -- will improve the odds that he can become a legal permanent resident. The new policy calls for giving priority to expelling immigrants who have committed crimes or are a threat to national security.
Donis is scheduled to have another hearing in the spring of 2012. His dream is to get his green card and "buy my own restaurant and have it here in New Jersey."
Jesus Manolo Donis, firefighter and top responder, fights for his dream to become a legal immigrant in the country he calls home— the United States.