SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Rafael construction worker and undocumented immigrant taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in May should be back home with his family when they celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
Officials granted Hugo Mejia his release from ICE detention on a $15,000 bond on Tuesday. For now, he will be able to be with his family for the first time he was taken into custody by immigration at Travis Air Force base.
It wasn’t the total victory his family had hoped for, but it was a victory all the same.
“We have to go in there knowing, we did everything we could and that we tried our best,” said Mejia’s daughter Mirna as she headed into the immigration.
Mejia was turned over to immigration when he and another undocumented worker arrived to put sheet rock up at a medical center construction project at Travis Air Force Base.
When they could not prove they were legal residents to base officials, the men were turned over to ICE.
“We followed every thing since we’ve been here,” Mirna said. “I never thought that my dad would be at risk for that (deportation).”
Mejia illegally re-entered the United States after being deported in 2001. In the 16 years since, he has lived a quiet life in Marin County.
“He’s a model example of what a citizen is,” said Rachel Kertz, San Rafael City School Board President, who has been a neighbor of the Mejia’s family for years.
Two of Meija’s children are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while a third has U.S. citizenship.
“We really need him and I need my dad,” Mirna said.
While his fellow co-worker has already been deported, Mejia’s case is still pending appeal in the 9th Circuit federal court. There’s no timeline and his lawyer says it could be months or years before there is a final judgment.