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DACA recipient awaits release after nearly a year in detention for leaving U.S.

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TUCSON (KVOA) - After nearly a year, the Department of Homeland Security has lost their appeal in the case of DACA recipient Carlos Martinez, who ended up in custody after a quick trip to Mexico without governmental approval.

Martinez came to the United States at age 9. He would later attend the University of Arizona as one of the first recipients to be granted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in the U.S.

His story of the American dream even made it to the Senate Floor.

"On August 7th, 2019, Carlos crosses the border to Mexico and he stays there for 45 minutes. He realizes that he had made a wrong decision," said Immigration Attorney Claudia Arevalo.

That quick trip earned him nearly a year in detention.

According to Department of Homeland Security, Carlos Martinez was in violation of a DACA immigration rule that prohibits a DACA recipient from leaving the U.S. without governmental approval.

Since being in custody, his attorney Arevalo has been working to get him out.

However, it wasn't soon enough to avoid contracting COVID-19.

"They were just giving him Tylenol and very limited access to medical care," Arevalo said.

Through it all, Martinez's parents who live in Tucson have been waiting for their son's release.

"We're worried for him because we still don't know what's going to happen," Salvador Martinez said. "The 11 months you can imagine the suffering we've gone through."

On Monday, Arevalo says she received a letter from the Board of Immigration Appeals office which dismissed the Department of Homeland Security's appeal.

If DHS doesn't appeal again Martinez will be granted a green card and released from the Eloy Detention Center.

"I would be very happy," Sylvia Baldenegro said. "That would be the most happy moment for us and I have asked God for a miracle and it would be a tremendous joy."

DHS has 30 calendar days to file an appeal.

Stay with News 4 Tucson for the latest developments.

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Denelle Confair

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