An Arizona man whose imminent deportation caught national attention was granted a one-year stay by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday after his story went viral.
The Arizona Republic reported Monday evening that Jesus Berrones, the father of five-year-old with a rare cancer, learned that he was granted the temporary year-long stay while at a church that offered him sanctuary.
“He started crying, then his daughter started crying,” Berrones’ lawyer, Garrett Wilkes, told the Republic upon receiving the call.
Over the weekend, the Republic story on Berrones — a 30-year-old undocumented father of five who came to the country when he was 18 months old — made headlines, and his lawyer thinks that attention caused ICE to reverse course.
Berrones’ wife, Sonia Garcia, and all five of their children are U.S. citizens. He was alerted that he was to be deported within a month on December 29, when he went to a routine ICE check-in. His request for a stay of removal was initially denied on February 8, and he was then asked to report to ICE offices for immediate deportation today.
He instead headed to Phoenix’s Shadow Rock United Church of Christ after its congregation offered him sanctuary.
Berrones had been deported twice before, returning illegally both times. He previously had a felony forgery charge after being caught driving as a minor with a fake license, but his lawyer brought the charge down to a misdemeanor so he could be granted his first temporary stay.