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ICE grants deportation stay to father of 5-year-old leukemia patient

15 February 2018

Berrones' 5-year-old son has been battling leukemia since 2016 and is undergoing chemotherapy.

Their son, Jayden, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016 and has two years left of treatment. He sought sanctuary in a Phoenix church Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. "Berrones-Balderas, who has 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". This is the second time ICE has postponed deportation of Berrones.

An ICE spokesperson said in a statement that the agency decided not to deport Berrones for humanitarian reasons.

It quoted his lawyer as saying the sudden attempt to deport Mr Berrones demonstrated a shift in policy under the Trump administration - one which has ignited a national debate on immigration.

The one-year stay granted Monday will allow Berrones to receive a work permit and remain in the US while he tries to have his deportation case reopened so he can apply to remain in the country legally through his USA citizen wife, Wilkes said. However, in December, Berrones was told he'd be deported in January.

Berrones has been living in the United States since he was a toddler; his parents brought him over the border in 1989 and remained in the country without proper authorization.

"I will fight to stay here", Berrones told CBS News over the weekend.

"Here's a man who crossed the desert", Heintzelman said.

As an adult, Berrones married a US citizen and together they take care of five children, two of whom are from a previous relationship. It is one of the churches around the US that have let immigrants faced with the threat of deportation to remain at their sanctuaries.

Berrones was caught with a fake driver's license and has been deported twice, in 2006 and 2010, but he snuck back into the U.S.

He told ABC News he wanted to remain in the U.S. to "help [his] son with his chemo treatment".

Wilkes was with Berrones at Shadow Rock United Church of Christ when they received the call. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of solicitation of forgery, which resulted in him being returned to Mexico when he was 17 or 18.

Berrones' pregnant wife Sonia and their children are all American citizens. He was again granted a voluntary return to Mexico, according to an ICE official. Stays may be granted up to two years in duration.

Berrones' lawyer Garrett Wilkes told The Huffington Post last week that his client was informed in 2017 by ICE officials when he went to refile a request to stay in the country that he would no longer be a deportation priority.

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

ICE grants deportation stay to father of 5-year-old leukemia patient