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UPDATE: DACA recipient relieved to be home after 355 days in detention facility

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TUCSON (KVOA) - One of the very first DACA recipients that lives here in Tucson is finally home after a quick trip to mexico landed him in a detention center for nearly a year.

Carlos Martinez is relieved to be home and it's just in time to take care of his parents who have both contracted COVID-19.

"My dad has a lot of testing done on him everyday," Martinez said.

His dad now working to recover from the virus at Banner UMC Hospital, while his mom is at home on oxygen.

"They're getting better because when I took them my dad could barely talk and he started coughing a lot," Martinez said. "My mom was really weak you know, now she gets up walks a little bit and she's eating."

Martinez was detained because DACA rules prohibited him from leaving the country without governmental approval. He was released just last week after spending 355 days in an Eloy Detention Center.

The Immigration Appeals Office dismissed the Department of Homeland Security's appeal and sided with Martinez, granting him a permanent residency in the United States.

"The officer says pack, "Martinez said. "The whole pod, all the other detainees are screaming and hugging me and everything. And I'm shaking I can't believe it."

The road to freedom has been long. At age nine, his parents brought him to the U.S. He's had to battle for the right to drive a car.

He became one of the first DACA recipients to graduate from the University of Arizona and through it all he says he'll never stop going after his dreams.

"Nothing good in life comes easy, but if it's tough," Martinez said. "I'm going to go for it because I know that it's going to be worth it."

A GoFundMe page has been setup to help pay for legal costs.

Martinez says he's now looking for a full-time job here in Tucson.

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Denelle Confair

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