AURORA, Colo. -- An Aurora family thought Wednesday would be one of the best of their lives. But it turned into one of the most disappointing.
Their husband and father, Rene Lima-Marin, was supposed to be released from prison Wednesday, but it did not happen.
First, the Colorado Department of Corrections said it was waiting for a release document, which Judge Carlos Samour Jr. issued Tuesday.
So when the DOC got it, there were still no answers as to when Lima-Marin would be coming home. Then, at about 2 p.m., his release was placed on hold.
Lima-Marin’s wife, Jasmine, said the long-anticipated reunion was sabotaged by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, who detained him. She fears he will be deported.
"It sucks to be in his shoes to possibly be sent to a place he's never even known. A lot of people that come here from different countries. They don't come as an infant. They want to send him to a place he's never known," she said.
Attorney Jaime Halscott, who represented Lima-Marin at a hearing asking for his release in December, said they are trying to figure out what to do.
The 38-year-old came to the United States from Cuba as a child. And because he was found guilty of an aggravated felony, he is eligible to be deported upon his release from prison.
Halscott said they did not see this coming because when Lima-Marin was mistakenly paroled nine years ago, the federal government did not take similar action.
At this point, Halscott said he doesn’t know what ICE’s intentions are. Will it release Lima-Marin at some point or deport him?
Repeated phone calls and emails to ICE went unanswered.
"Lima-Marin was released by the Department of Corrections to Immigration and Customs Enforcement pursuant to the detainer as required by law," the Colorado Department of Corrections said.
Halscott said clemency from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper could be at play.
"We can’t imagine the emotional roller coaster this family has endured," Hickenlooper said. "The Colorado Department of Corrections did what was required by law and released Mr. Lima-Marin to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"The family has shown amazing strength and we hope this is a temporary stop on his way to being reunited with his family."
State lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a resolution asking Hickenlooper to set Lima-Marin free.
But immigration attorney Jeff Joseph said clemency probably won’t work, though a pardon might.
Joseph also said it’s highly unlikely Lima-Marin will get any relief from ICE because he’s from Cuba and -- if deported -- his life would not be threatened.
"My biggest fear, to be completely honest, is if this doesn't work and he does have to go, how hard it would be to go with him," Jasmine Lima-Marin said. "That's my biggest fear, because if he goes, I'll go with him."