CNN | 10/20/2018 | Español | Listen

ICE grants 1-year stay to father of 5-year-old battling leukemia

Updated 3:00 AM ET, Tue February 13, 2018

(CNN) - An undocumented immigrant who took refuge in a Phoenix church and whose son has leukemia was relieved Monday after finding out that he won't be deported.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement granted Jesus Armando Berrones-Balderas a one-year stay of deportation on a humanitarian basis.

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.

His lawyer, Garrett Wilkes told Lemon that Berrones had regular check-ins with ICE every six months until December, when he was told that he would be deported in January.

Wilkes said he filed the necessary paperwork for a stay of removal, but "last Thursday, the 8th, ICE informed me it was being denied."

"We couldn't get any feedback as to why it was being denied. The only response we were getting was no comment," he said.

Berrones, who lives in Arizona with his pregnant wife and five children, was eventually forced to seek refuge in a Phoenix church in order to avoid deportation.

Wilkes added that through multiple communications with ICE and the Mexican consulate, they were able to provide additional documentation, which they believed led to the reversal of their decision to not deport Berrones.

"In an exercise of discretion, ICE has granted Jesus Armando Berrones-Balderas a one-year stay of removal on humanitarian grounds," ICE said in a statement Monday. "ICE issued a previous one-year stay in June 2016. 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."

Berrones was brought to the United States when was a baby by his parents from Mexico in 1989, according to reports.

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 US as children protection from deportation.

"The main reason is because of two removals that he has from the country," Wilkes said. "Even though he's graduated from high school, he's lived here his whole life, those two removals that happened after he turned 18 is what keeps him from benefiting from that."

Berrones' story has gained national attention primarily because his 5-year-old son is battling leukemia.

He told Lemon that his son welcomes the news of his stay.

"He's actually happy because he knows now that I'm going to be able to go home now and be with my whole family at home," said Berrones.


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