Know Your Rights
Source: NY1
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Exclusive: Queens Man, Held by ICE Despite Not Meeting Biden’s Priorities For Removal, Is Released

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Edward Alonso Castillo spent nearly two months in jail, even though he didn’t meet the priorities set by President Biden or the Department of Homeland Security for deportation.

“It’s hard because when you’ve been separated from your loved ones,” said Castillo, as the love his life, Rocio, placed a comforting hand on his shoulder inside Babylon Bagel on Long Island, which they own and operate. “I thought I was not going to make it and see my family again.”

The 49-year old undocumented immigrant from Mexico nearly broke down in tears as he tried to summon the words to describe how painful the last two months have been, incarcerated by ICE in an Orange County jail in Goshen, NY, believing deportation was more likely than a family reunion.

Cell phone video shot by one of his children shows Castillo surprising his longtime love on Friday at their bagel shop.

He wanted the surprise to be as big as his surprise, when he learned earlier in the day that he was being released from custody.

“She hugged me. It was magical,” Castillo said. “The emotion was so hard!”

Castillo’s attorney, Jackie Pearce, says Castillo was arrested by ICE on January 28, while he was on his way to work and that he was facing deportation, even though Castillo did not meet any of the adjusted priorities set by President Biden or the Department of Homeland Security.

“And yet he was in detention for two months and we had to fight tooth and nail to get him out,” said Pearce, who is the Senior Raids Response Attorney for Make the Road New York.

“I prayed like I never did before,” said Castillo. “I kept my faith in God.”

Castillo is now back at work and once again chasing the American dream, after advocates for immigrant rights, including Make the Road New York, took up his case just over a month ago.

They secured his temporary freedom after an appeals judge ruled that Castillo has credible fear of returning to Mexico since was assaulted by gangs in his home country in the past.

“I’m glad, thanks God to be back, to keep doing the stuff that I love to do,” Castillo says.

Castillo’s attorney says due to court closures and delays related to COVID-19, it could take years before his asylum application is resolved.