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DACA Recipient Released After Entering Mexico Unintentionally

Created: 18 January, 2018
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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2 min read

The nightmare is over for a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiary who faced potential deportation after unwittingly leaving the United States.

After three days at the Otay Mesa Immigration Detention Center, UC San Diego student Orr Yakobi was released this past Friday by immigration authorities.

The young man, originally from Israel, feared the worst after having inadvertently crossed the border into Mexico when the driver of the vehicle he was in took the south entrance to the freeway instead of northbound upon leaving the Las Americas shopping center.

In a matter of seconds, he was practically at Mexican Customs with no way to avoid leaving the U.S., Yakobi recalled.

He and his roommate returned to the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry and attempted to explain the incident to the U.S. Customs officer; however, the UCSD student was still detained for violating the conditions of his DACA permit, which requires him to obtain proper authorization prior to leaving the country.

What followed was days of great uncertainty during which Yakobi stated he drew strength from his faith and from the support of other Otay Mesa detainees who were going through similar situations. On the outside, community members and elected officials lobbied strongly to have the UCSD student’s case reconsidered. Finally, less than a week after being detained, immigration authorities granted Yakobi his unconditional release.

“I am glad this is over, and I hope that we can take this to ensure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else”, said the young man after being released from the detention center. “It was a mistake; we learned from it, and now we set our sights forward.”
Jacob Sapochnick, his attorney, credited the coordinated efforts of public officials and university representatives to impress upon immigration officials that his client’s case was one of an “honest mistake.”

“I had never seen anyone be released within three days. Normally, they have them inside for at least a couple of weeks,” said the attorney as to the time his client remained at Otay Mesa.

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The 22-year-old was brought to the U.S. by his family when he was five, and says he now wants to focus on finishing the two courses he has left in order to graduate from UCSD, and then look for a good job.

While being held at the Detention Center, a federal judge ordered the partial restoration of the DACA program until pending litigation regarding this immigration program is resolved. As a result, Yakobi will be able to renew his permit, which is set to expire this coming March.

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