AURORA, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – Jaime Leon Rivas will get to graduate with his high school class…thanks to a delay in his deportation hearing.
The 19-year-old was locked up by immigration authorities after a scheduled supervision hearing on March 4th.
Rivas came to the United States in 2005, along with his older brother Carlos, by illegally crossing the Rio Grande.
They were fleeing turmoil in their home country of El Salvador.
At the time they were picked by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and signed voluntary departure forms.
But instead of returning south, they went north to Colorado to reconnect with family members.
Rivas worked hard in school and became a standout student after several years of struggle.
After his arrest, protesters picked the ICE office in Aurora with signs that read “Let Jaime Graduate” and “Free Jaime.”
Immigration attorney Alex McShiras was able to obtain a stay of a federal-removal order that gives Leon Rivas another year of freedom in the United States, enough time for Rivas to graduate and make a case that he should be given asylum.
McShiras, with the Denver-based Chan Law Firm, says he’s never seen such an outpouring of support for one of his clients.
He said that between March 10, when he took the case, and March 21, when he filed a motion requesting a stay of removal, he received more than 98 pages of testimony telling authorities Leon Rivas had changed his life for the better.
Snowy Peaks High School Principal Brett Tomlinson hugged Rivas when he returned to school and welcomed him back.
“It’s fantastic. He’s excited to be back in class. It shows how much everyone believes in him,” Tomlinson said.
Rivas will graduate with the rest of his class on May 22.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)