Undocumented SJ Man and Sen. Feinstein Call for Immigration Reform - NBC Bay Area

Undocumented SJ Man and Sen. Feinstein Call for Immigration Reform



    Better Sleep = Better Grades
    Immigration activists protest outside of The Grand America in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is holding a campaign fundraising event, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    A 26-year-old San Jose man who was just released from U.S.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention on Tuesday was joined by  supporters outside the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein in San Francisco  Wednesday morning as they called for federal immigration reform.

    Jesus Ruiz Diego, who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico with his  family when he was four years old, graduated from high school and wanted to  join the U.S. Marines but was ineligible because of his immigration status.

    Ruiz Diego was then deported to Mexico in 2008 when his family's  house was raided, and after he returned to the U.S. two months later, he was  detained again this September at his workplace, a sheet metal company in San  Jose.

    But after actions that included a rally in front of ICE offices in  San Francisco last month and a petition drive that gathered about 5,000  signatures, Ruiz Diego was set free Tuesday night -- albeit with a tracking  device on his ankle.

    ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said Ruiz Diego was released under  the agency's Intensive Supervision Program pending a future hearing before an  immigration judge.

    Kice said the decision on whether to release undocumented  immigrants while their cases are pending "is based upon a thorough assessment  of each individual's circumstances, including the person's criminal and immigration history."

    Ruiz Diego said he hoped his story inspires Feinstein and other  elected officials to enact legislative changes "not just for me but for other  people in my situation."
    He said, "We were basically raised here, then thrown into another  country that they say is your country but it doesn't feel like home."

    He said, "This is my home, whether I'm here legally or not."
    Ruiz Diego's attorney, Niloufar Khonsari, said her client should  be eligible for a federal policy change announced by President Barack Obama  in June that provides a two-year deferral of deportation for people who came  to the U.S. before the age of 16 and meet other requirements.

    However, because he was previously deported in 2008, Ruiz Diego's  eligibility for the program remains up in the air and could be decided in the  coming weeks and months, Khonsari said.

    She said people like Ruiz Diego are examples of the need to enact  permanent immigration reform.
    "He was doing good for this country. He was the first in his  family to graduate from high school, the first in his neighborhood to get a  really good job," she said. "He could be a role model in his community."