Undocumented immigrant, father of leukemia patient, takes refuge in Phoenix church

Undocumented immigrant, father of leukemia patient, takes refuge in Phoenix church

Undocumented immigrant, father of leukemia patient, takes refuge in Phoenix church

Immigration authorities have granted a man whose 5-year-old son has leukemia a one-year stay of deportation.

In a statement, the ICE said Mr Berrones had been granted "a one-year stay of removal on humanitarian grounds". Berrones, who had received a final order of removal, remains enrolled in the agency's Alternatives to Detention program, which requires him to regularly check in with the local ICE office, the statement said.

But late Monday cheers could be heard from inside the church after Berrones attorney Garrett Wilkes received a call from ICE, informing him of the application had been reconsidered and approved.

However, Berrones was informed by ICE in January that he would be deported.

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.

Instead, he has been given sanctuary at the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix, where he and his wife, Sonia, are now staying with their five children. His lawyer said Berrones will now be going home.

Shadow Rock is one of hundreds of churches across the US that are participating in the "sanctuary church" movement.

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Lemon asked Wilkes why Berrones was not elgible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided undocumented immigrants who were brought to the USA as children protection from deportation. Berrones is the family's sole breadwinner.

- A Valley father who is facing deportation is seeking refuge in a church. In 2006, at age 19, Berrones was caught driving with a fake license and deported to Mexico.

Berrones, 30, told CNN's Don Lemon on "CNN Tonight" that he felt "happy" upon hearing the news that he would be able to stay in the United States and obtain a work permit. "The only response we were getting was no comment", he told CNN. Last week, the ICE agency denied his latest attempt to stay in the country and ordered him to show up on Monday to begin his deportation proceedings.

He returned illegally to the US two weeks later but was removed again in 2010, Wilkes said, adding that Berrones again returned illegally.

Berrones' pregnant wife Sonia and their children are all American citizens. Garcia is not now working so she can take her son Jayden, who has leukemia, to his many medical appointments.

"I've been here since I was a little kid, so I feel like I'm from here", Berrones said.

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