DENVER — An undocumented immigrant in Denver braced for the worst when he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week.
ICE released Arturo Hernandez Garcia on Tuesday on reprieve, but what happens next is up in the air.
Garcia said he will get to see his oldest daughter graduate from high school later this month.
“I don’t just want to see her graduate. I want to stay and be able to pay for her studies and support her,” Garcia said.
His life as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico began years ago, but it wasn’t until 2014 when Garcia faced with the possibility of deportation for overstaying his visa.
He made headlines when he sought sanctuary inside a Denver church, something that had never been done before in Colorado.
Garcia said he left the church after he said ICE officials gave him a letter stating he was not a priority for the agency.
It’s why Garcia said he was shocked when agents were waiting for him at his job last week. He said he told the agents about the letter.
“He said, ‘Yes, I know. But a lot of things have changed.’ Like he was saying that letter was worth nothing,” Garcia said.
News that Garcia was detained spread quickly and that same afternoon, supporters gathered outside of the ICE facility.
Garcia said he saw the rally on the news and it gave him hope as he spent the next seven nights inside the center.
The reprieve bought his lawyer time to fight in the courts on his behalf to keep him in the U.S. Meanwhile, Garcia will be hoping for the best.
“I have to work. I must pay the lawyer. I’ll be in contact with the lawyer so that all if this turns out to be okay,” Garcia said.
He points out he has no criminal background and does not understand why ICE picked him up.
Last week in a statement, ICE said it arrested Garcia for immigration violations. Officials said he overstayed his visa.