Immigration officials have detained a 19-year-old San Antonio student who is a recipient of Deferred Action, the federal program that provides young immigrants a temporary work permit and protections from deportation.
Josué Romero, who was born in Honduras, has been in ICE custody since Feb. 15.
His arrest comes a week after ICE conducted nationwide raids that led to the detention of at least one other young immigrant who was granted Deferred Action.
“I fear that they’ll deport him, he doesn’t know anyone in [Honduras] because he was four when we left,” Romero’s father told the local Univision affiliate in San Antonio.
Local police arrested Romero on Feb. 14 for alleged possession of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor, according to county records. His bail was set at $800.
“I went with his aunt to pay the $800 bond, and they said he’d come out in 2-4 hours, but he hasn’t been released,” Romero’s father told Univision.
Hours later police officers informed the family that immigration officials “had put a hold on him.”
ICE says Romero Velasquez is in their custody because he was issued a final order of removal by an immigration judge on Dec. 3, 2004. He was seven years old at the time.
DACA wasn’t introduced until years later in 2012.
Romero Velasquez’s parents say their son was granted DACA and is currently waiting to hear about his renewal, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Romero’s arrest illustrates how the vast majority of immigrants end up in ICE custody. Most are transferred to ICE custody from other law enforcement agencies—not as a result of ICE agents knocking on someone’s door seeking to arrest the person that lives there.
More than 750,000 young undocumented immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief since DACA was implemented in 2012. ICE says approximately 1,500 recipients have had their deferred action terminated due to “a criminal conviction, gang affiliation, or a criminal conviction related to gang affiliation.”