SAN DIEGO — A University of California, San Diego student is in the custody of federal authorities and faces possible deportation after a wrong turn at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Orr Yakobi, 22, has been in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement since Sunday when his friend took the wrong exit after leaving the Las Americas Premium Outlets in San Ysidro and they accidentally crossed into Mexico.
As a DREAMer who is part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA, Yakobi was not allowed to leave the country and come back without a special permit.
Yakobi’s parents brought him to the U.S. from Israel at the age of 5. He is an honor student majoring in math and computer science and is set to graduate this year.
Yakobi’s attorney, Jacob Sapochnick, said the wrong turn was an honest mistake. He said Yakobi should not be deported to a country he has never known.
“He’s never been to jail. He’s a good boy. He’s not a criminal. He doesn’t know how to handle it,” Sapochnick said. “He’s been here since he was 5. He has no accent. This is his country. He doesn’t remember anything from Israel, his Israeli origin.
Yakobi is currently negotiating his release and is getting support from lawmakers, including Todd Gloria and Scott Peters. He anticipates the process could take several weeks.
“These DACA kids are important to us,” Sapochnick said. “We are going to do whatever it takes to make them stay here because we need them in this country. They support our economy, they help and so I think it’s a strong message to whoever is making those decisions and hopefully will help us in our efforts to release him as well.”
On Tuesday, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump administrations’ efforts to end DACA.