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Officials deny papal role in release of immigrant from custody

Some Florida residents might be disappointed by the claim of U.S. officials that the temporary release of a Mexican national from a detention facility has nothing to do with the pope. The man's 10-year-old daughter had traveled from the United States to the Vatican with a group of children of undocumented workers to ask the pope to speak to President Obama about their parents' plights. When the girl had a chance to speak to the pope, she told him her father was suffering.

Three days after Pope Francis had met with President Obama, officials released the girl's father on a $5,000 bond. They stated he was released because his friends and family managed to raise enough money to pay his bond and that releasing him under these conditions was "standard procedure." They denied that the pope had played any role in securing the man's release.

The girl's father was originally taken into police custody back in September on charges related to drunk driving. He served a six-month sentence, but was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials upon his release. The officials placed him in a detention center pending his deportation appearance. While the man is temporarily free, he must keep ICE aware of his whereabouts and must still appear in court.

While the pope may not have been able to help the girl's father, an attorney might be able to provide some assistance. An immigration attorney may be able to help individuals prepare an effective defense against removal. An attorney may also be able to help lawful residents ensure that removal proceedings against them are canceled.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. releases immigrant, says unrelated to daughter's plea to pope", Kevin Murphy, March 29, 2014

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