UPDATE: It is our great pleasure to announce that on January 12, 2018, our office successfully negotiated the release of Orr Yakobi from the Otay Mesa Detention Center. For more information regarding his release please click here.
It is with great heartache that we report to our readers that the ongoing battle to protect Dreamers from deportation has hit very close to home. Our office is currently in the process of vigorously defending an exemplary young man, a Dreamer, who was unjustly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after taking a wrong turn at the U.S. Mexico Border.
Just days ago, 22-year old Orr Yakobi, was a young man full of hope and promise for the future. Yakobi would soon graduate with honors from the University of California San Diego with a degree in computer science, and was looking forward to what the future might hold after graduation. His dreams however came to an unpredictable halt, when in an unexpected turn of events, he was apprehended and detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection all because of an honest mistake.
It all began on Sunday evening, when Yakobi and a close friend decided to spend the day shopping at the Las Americas outlet mall in San Ysidro, located near the U.S. Mexcio border in San Ysidro, California.
As the pair made their way home, they proceeded southbound on Interstate 5, instead of northbound on Interstate 805. It was at that time that Yakobi’s friend, who was driving the vehicle, in a panic realized that they could not turn around to enter Interstate 805, and the vehicle was being forced into Mexico.
For many this situation would not have proved perplexing, but for Yakobi, a recipient of DACA, this was a nightmare turned reality. Under the terms of the DACA program, a recipient of DACA may remain lawfully within the United States, but may not travel outside of the United States without a special travel permit known as an “advance parole” document. If a DACA holder travels outside of the United States without an advance parole document, they are subject to detention and may be removed from the United States.
Unfortunately for Yakobi he did not have such a special permit to leave the United States, and was swiftly flagged down and detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, when he attempted to return to the United States. Yakobi has since been transferred to the detention center in Otay Mesa where he is currently being held.
Our office has been working diligently to bring justice to Orr and his family. We are currently negotiating his release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, and are in close communication with ICE and CBP to reach that endeavor. Alternatively, we will seek to negotiate Orr’s release at a bond hearing if ICE declines his release.
Our office is outraged that CBP made the irresponsible decision of detaining an upstanding young man, even after taking into consideration the fact that Mr. Yakobi was lawfully authorized to remain in the United States, and that it was clearly not his intention to depart the United States. This disturbing situation calls into question our compassion as human beings. When immigration officials target Dreamers for deportation, they are exhausting precious resources in detaining the best and brightest of our young generation, instead of focusing their efforts on detaining criminals and individuals posing a risk to our national security.
Orr on the other hand has had many accomplishments at his young age. At UCSD he participated in an entrepreneur/innovation lab called “The Basement” in which his team won an award for their start-up idea Sin Fronteras Tax, an app that facilitates speedy tax refunds for international workers. Orr is also heavily involved in his community.
Our office is grateful for the outpouring of support we have received in negotiating the release of Mr. Yakobi. We would like to thank California State Assembly member Todd Gloria, Congressmen Scott Peters, Congressman Brad Sherman, the media, and all who have been involved in Yakobi’s release. We will continue to push forward in this fight and ask for your full support.