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Immigrant father released from Louisiana detention center

Immigrants who are not yet U.S. citizens face the risk of being deported, especially if they are found guilty of a criminal charge. One young girl's fight to save her father from deportation has captured national attention. The girl's father, a Mexican immigrant, was charged with drunk driving late last year and spent six months in jail. Once he served his sentence, he was held in a Louisiana detention facility by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was required to stay there until he could appear before a judge for removal proceedings.

The man's family and friends raised the $5,000 to post bond and the judge approved the bond request. Meanwhile, the man's 10-year-old daughter traveled to the Vatican to ask the pope for help to keep her father in the United States.

The girl was part of a coalition in California that traveled to the Vatican to deliver letters from children of illegal immigrants. She was able to speak with the pope for a few minutes, but authorities say that the man's release was just standard procedure and had nothing to do with the daughter's trip. The money was available later in the week and the man was released on bond. He is required to stay in contact with ICE until his next court appearance.

The girl's message, along with the others, had a bigger purpose. The delegation was there to encourage the pope to talk to President Obama about US immigration law reform. Hopefully, this will help improve the United States immigration so that more undocumented immigrants and their families will be able to stay in the U.S. legally.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. releases immigrant, says unrelated to daughter's plea to pope," Kevin Murphy, March 29, 2014

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