SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) –Tears, cheers and hugs were all flowing outside the federal immigration building in San Francisco Monday as a Mexican immigrant and San Jose resident who was facing deportation was released from detention.
As Fernando Carrillo walked out of the facility to chants of ‘Welcome Home!, Welcome Home!’ he was immediately smothered by hugs from his wife and children.
“It feel like I was just born again,” said Carrillo while holding his youngest daughter. “God gave me another chance to be with my family and I’m just thankful.”
Fernando’s wife, Lourdes Barraza, told reporters that she and her husband will become a voice for other immigrants facing deportation.
“I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “This is something we were hoping for. 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.”
Barraza said the family was able to see Fernando earlier Monday, but it was through a Plexiglas wall and talked with him on a phone.
“We are now just anxiously awaiting a chance to hold his hand,” Barraza said as she waited with supporters outside the front door of the immigration headquarters.
Carrillo has been housed at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond since he was detained by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents on Oct. 11 when he was picked him up as he was taking his 4-year-old daughter to daycare.
He has said he noticed a couple of cars following him and pulled into a shopping center. Carrillo was immediately surrounded by ICE officers and was taken to San Francisco and later that night to Richmond.
Carrillo is a Mexican national. Barraza and her children are citizens, however, she said there was no path to citizenship for her husband, even though he’s married to a citizen.
She said her husband has no criminal record but was detained on a previous deportation order.
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.
Just last week Immigration Judge Joseph Park issued a withholding of removal order, allowing Carrillo to remain in the United States.
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.