SAN FRANCISCO – A Mexican father arrested by immigration officials after dropping off his daughter at day care in California was released from a detention center on Monday and will be allowed to remain in the U.S. after a judge ruled he could face persecution with a return to Mexico.
Fernando Carrillo walked out of a U.S. immigration office in San Francisco and hugged his wife and daughter as dozens of supporters cheered around him.
Last week, a U.S. immigration judge withdrew the order to remove Carrillo from the country after Carrillo proved that he would be persecuted if he returned to Mexico, said his attorney, Hedi Framm-Anton.
"Welcome home!" the crowd cheered as Carrillo held his daughter in his arms.
"I'm extremely happy and thankful to all the people, my family and God," Carrillo said after his release. "I just don't believe it yet."
Framm-Anton didn't provide specific information about what claims Carrillo made in court but told the Mercury News that the argument was "based on his blood relationship with a family member in Mexico who is involved in fighting a certain type of crime."
Carrillo is from Mexico City and arrived in the U.S. in 2004, Framm-Anton said.
He was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in October after he was convicted of a drunken-driving offense. Officials have said he was previously deported from the U.S.
Carrillo said he was driving his daughter to day care when he noticed an unmarked police car behind him. He turned back, went home and took another route to drop off his daughter, he said. After he dropped her off, he was approached by immigration officers and taken into custody, he said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Richard Rocha did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the case.
"This is something we were hoping for," Carrillo's wife, Lourdes Barraza said. "We obviously had faith that it would happen, eventually, and we are just very grateful to God and grateful to the community for the support we have received."
Balsamo reported from Los Angeles.