SAN ANTONIO - A 19-year-old Honduran immigrant was released from a detention facility in South Texas two days after he was arrested by San Antonio police, his family confirmed.
The father of Josue Romero cried on the phone as his son told him the news Thursday evening.
Romero, who is covered under a deferred action program launched by the Obama administration, was arrested on Tuesday at Martinez Park in the 200 block of Merida Street just west of downtown, police confirmed.
The San Antonio Police Department told Eyewitness News officers “came up on an incident” and later took Romero into custody on a Class B misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession at 2 oz. or less.
Romero was booked into the Bexar County Jail with bond set at $800. He was later handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials because of his immigration status, county officials confirmed.
As of Thursday evening, Romero’s family said the young man was traveling from the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall back to San Antonio.
Romero’s attorney was said to have been at the facility on Thursday attempting to ensure Romero’s release.
SAY Sí, a local youth-development program, said Romero came to the U.S. when he was four years old. They said Romero is a second-year art student at the Southwest School of Art downtown.
Under former President Barack Obama’s executive action, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program gives two-year stays from deportation to some young undocumented immigrants.
The reprieves from deportation can be revoked if the recipients commit a crime, including what federal officials call “significant misdemeanors.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials described those as crimes involving domestic violence, burglary, and drug distribution or trafficking.
Jonathan Ryan, Executive Director of RAICES, condemned Romero’s transfer from Bexar County to ICE.
“This is a form of violence. This is anti-social. This is an attack… on our entire community. This is the federal government telling us that what we say does not matter,” Ryan said.
Ryan claimed the actions circumvented due process.
“What we saw today was a law enforcement body that bent-over backwards to skirt all kinds of due process in the name of handing this young man over to Immigration to feed that monster, that deportation machine.”
Nina Pruneda, a spokeswoman for ICE, issued a statement to Eyewitness News earlier on Thursday:
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed a detainer with Bexar County (Texas) Jail on Josue Romero-Velasquez, from Honduras. He was later transferred to ICE custody.”
Joseph Lopez and Ximena Alvarez contributed to this report.
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