Man Detained by ICE Released After Six Months Behind Bars

ELK GROVE -- Angel is passing the time with his sister Mirna and his mom Yadira.

For three hours, they've been standing outside in the cold at an Elk Grove jail, waiting for their father, Hugo Mejia, to finally come home.

It's been an unsettling time for his family. ICE arrested Mejia six months ago because he's an undocumented immigrant and he showed up at Travis Air Force Base to work a government construction job.

But Tuesday night, he walked out of jail after an immigration attorney ordered his release on $15,000 bond, which he couldn't have made without help.

"It's the first time I feel again to be free. And waiting to see my family is what I want right now," Hugo Mejia said.

Mejia has lived in the country for 16 years with no criminal history. However, he entered the country illegally once before, so he faces deportation at any time. But for now, he gets to hold his family once more.

For them, this hug is a victory they earned. Since Mejia was arrested, his wife and kids and complete strangers have been fighting for this family man.

"They all spoke on his behalf and testified on his good character and ties to the community," said David Buenrostro with the California Youth Immigrant Justice Alliance.

Buenrostro says Mejia still faces an uphill battle seeking asylum in the United States and facing a 9th circuit court of appeals case to determine if ICE acted legally in detaining him. And his story is becoming more common.

"A lot of these cases are popping up especially under this administration," Buenrostro said.

"I have to say thank you. They believe in me because they know me, my family and I are good persons," Mejia said.