The U.S. deportation machine held me for 313 days

The officers first drove me to a holding tank in Waco, and then took me and four others to Austin to board a corrections bus headed south. By the end of the first day after my arrest, we were 250 miles from Waco at the South Texas Detention Center in the dusty town of Pearsall (roughly midway between San Antonio and the Mexican border).

I was incarcerated there for 313 days before I was released – I was never able to post bail and it was only through my wife’s determination that I was ever able to go home. She found a law firm to (successfully) file an appeal to reopen my drug case in the hopes of reducing the original charges against me, which would then remove my “aggravated felony” designation. After the case was re-opened, the district attorney asked the sheriff’s office to produce the drugs they had taken from me on the day of my arrest – but the evidence had been lost, and so the case was dismissed.

The media caught wind of our story and organizers rallied in support of my release: the pressure on ICE was unrelenting and eventually my deportation order was dropped.