Jersey Vargas, 10, a U.S. citizen from Los Angeles, went all the way to Rome to speak to Pope Francis about her father, Mario — who was detained and could have been deported — ahead of the Pope’s meeting with President Obama.
But the family’s lawyer, Alex Galvez, told BuzzFeed that Mario Vargas will likely be released today and it has nothing to do with the Pope interceding in his conversation with Obama.
Galvez, who took the case pro bono, said there has been a lot of misinformation in the press. He said Vargas works in construction and couldn’t find work in Los Angeles, so he went to Tennessee to work there and send his paycheck back home to support his family. In Tennessee, Vargas was detained because his car had a vehicle code violation, officials told Galvez. He was supposed to be held for three days but instead they forgot about him, Galvez said. When he contacted the jail Vargas was being detained in, they told him it was just a three-day hold and he asked why, if that was the case, Vargas had been held for more than two weeks.
The lawyer said Vargas’ clean record and other circumstances are working in his favor for a release Thursday.
“They wanted to set the bond high but he’s been here over 10 years, has U.S. children, has a [DREAMer] child, and no disqualifying issues so he’s eligible for cancellation of removal.”