Posted by Phoenix Immigration Attorney Nick Alcock:

A Phoenix-based immigration attorney is currently arguing that federal immigration authorities are violating the rights of a 16-year-old boy by refusing to release him to his parents and shipping him off to a holding facility in another state. Miguel Mayorquin is an illegal immigrant from the northern Mexico state of Sonora but has lived in Phoenix for the past 13 years along with his mother, Wendy Serrano, who is also an illegal immigrant.

The family’s attorney said a deputy field officer with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told him Miguel was being sent away because he poses a danger to the community. His mother and stepfather said nothing could be further from the truth. They said he is a troubled teenager who had used marijuana, but wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone else.

According to the attorney, ICE is improperly holding the boy and violated his rights by refusing to allow the teen to speak to him on Thursday before his flight. He also said that ICE refuses to say where they are taking the teen.

Miguel’s stepfather and legal guardian, Noel Serrano, is a U.S. citizen, as are Wendy Serrano’s two younger children, ages 9 and 11. After serving a couple months for punching his stepfather in front of a police officer, Mr. Serrano said Miguel was turned over to ICE in 2010. He said the agency told his wife that if she came to pick him up, they would release the boy to her but also start deportation proceedings against her. Because Wendy Serrano didn’t want to take that risk, Noel Serrano said, ICE then took Miguel to a facility in Virginia for three months and a Texas facility for two months before bringing him back to an Arizona facility.

The family’s attorney said he is confident that Miguel will be allowed to stay in the U.S. since the teen has a U.S. citizen as a legal guardian and has lived in the U.S. since he was 3 years old. He also said that the teen likely would qualify to avoid deportation under President Barack Obama’s announcement last week to allow hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to stay in the country and work. Under the administration’s plan, illegal immigrants can avoid deportation if they can prove they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, and graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED or served in the military.

Miguel is awaiting immigration proceedings in Phoenix and has a court date in November.

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