21-year-old Hector Lopez–the Portland college student who was deported to Mexico in late August–has passed his “credible fear” interview for asylum and is processing parole papers for his imminent release from a migrant processing center in Florence, AZ.
“He’s coming home,” said immigrant advocate Ralph Isenberg from Dallas, who has been working closely with the Lopez family and attorneys. “There’s nothing more I can say right now,” he said, obviously overwhelmed with emotion. The phone call from Isenberg came at about 1:50 p.m. CST.
The story of Lopez was featured in the New York Times on the day before the DREAM Act passed the US House of Representatives in early December. Today, Lopez was mentioned in a Los Angeles Times editorial calling for eventual passage of the DREAM Act. Meanwhile, supporters in Portland expressed joy at the news that Lopez would be coming home for the holidays.
“I am so Happy! I have been praying for this day!” said Lori Horton, who started a petition for Lopez and worked with writers at change.org. Horton heard about the case through her daughter who attended the high school where Lopez served as student body president.
“Something tugged at my heart,” said Horton. “I was unfamiliar with the injustice that happens to children. It was a total eye-opening experience for me.” Horton asked Isenberg to get involved with the case after reading about Isenberg’s August attempt to talk to President Barack Obama about reversing the deportation of Texas college student Saad Nabeel.