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February 6, 2007

Out of Detention

TNS has learned of a rare twist in a detainee case. Luis Mejia, one of "aggravated felons" we interviewed for the article on deportations, has been released from detention.

As we reported previously, an immigration judge ruled last year in Mejia's favor and sought to terminate his removal order, but as with many other cases, Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed the decision, forcing Mejia to continue his imprisonment.

According to Raha Jorjani, a lawyer with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project who worked on Mejia’s case, the Bureau of Immigration Appeals threw out the “charges of removability� once again, ruling that Mejia’s original conviction did not warrant removal or an aggravated-felony designation.

Mejia had originally pleaded guilty to an assault charge related to a fight in which he said he had actually been the victim. After languishing in detention since August 2005 (and, by contrast, doing no jail time for his actual offense), he is now finally reuniting with his family.

Relaying a phone message from Mejia, Jorjani said that “he felt he gained his life back.�

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.