SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — An immigration judge Thursday issued an order allowing a Mexican immigrant and San Jose father facing deportation to remain in the United States, supporters said.

Immigration Judge Joseph Park issued a withholding of removal order for Fernando Carrillo Thursday afternoon, according to Sarah Lee, an organizer with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.

It is uncertain as to when Carrillo might be released. The government could file an appeal, which would prolong his release date, according to Lee. He is being held at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, where he has been since October.

“This decision has great implications for Fernando,” Lee said. “He does not have to live in fear in the United States any more.”

A “withholding of removal” order is a special type of order issued by an immigration judge to a person who demonstrates a more than 50 percent change that they will be persecuted in their home country because of such things as race or religion.

Carrillo was on his way to drop his youngest daughter off at daycare one morning when U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents followed him from his home to the daycare and arrested him, his wife Lourdes Barraza has said.

Barraza said in an article which appeared on Medium a month after his detainment that Carrillo had noticed a couple of cars following him and pulled into a shopping center. He was immediately surrounded by ICE officers and was taken to San Francisco, and later that night, to Richmond.

Carrillo’s wife and daughters were devastated because he had been deported once before in 2012. That time he was picked up on a Friday and transferred to Tijuana by Sunday, Barraza said.

Since Carrillo’s arrest, an online petition has garnered nearly 4,000 signatures and more than 500 people have called to ask for his release, according to a representative from the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.

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