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Tucson DACA recipient released from immigration detention center
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Tucson DACA recipient released from immigration detention center

Martinez spent almost a year in the detention center where he contracted COVID-19

Carlos Martínez is shown at his graduation from the University of Arizona with his brother Salvador Martínez Jr., his mom, Sylvia Baldenegro, and his dad, Salvador Martínez.

After almost a year of being held at the Eloy Immigration Detention Center, Carlos Martínez Baldenegro returned to his home in Tucson on Tuesday.

Martínez was one of the first “dreamers” to join the DACA program in 2012.

Martínez had been detained since he briefly crossed the border into Nogales, Sonora, in August, saying he was frustrated about being unable to find a job and wanting to visit relatives in Mexico.

Attorney Claudia Arévalo, who represented Martínez, said the Board of Immigration Appeals sided with a judge’s decision that canceled his deportation order in February. The Department of Homeland Security dropped its appeal of that ruling.

The February decision also granted Martínez permanent residency, but he had to remain in the detention center while the DHS appeal was processed.

The Arizona Dream Act Coalition last month started campaigning for the release of Martínez after his family said he had contracted COVID-19 in the detention center.

“God works in a mysterious way. Thank you very much to all the family, friends and all those who supported me in one way or another. Without their support I would not be here,” Martínez wrote in Spanish on Facebook Wednesday.

Contact Liliana Lopez at llopez@tucson.com or at 807-8479.

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