DENVER (CBS4)– It’s been three months since Renee Lima-Marin was supposed to come home from prison for good, but he was blindsided when immigration officials took him into custody the day he was released.
“I didn’t know what to think, I didn’t know what to do,” Lima-Marin told CBS4’s Andrea Flores over the phone. “I was in a little bit of panic.”
His wife, Jasmine, and their two kids are still waiting for him to come home,
“That day was the best day, and the worst day. That day totally tore us down,” his wife said. “Getting so close to that point, and having it all taken away and now we’re back at square one. I think it’s even harder now because having to explain to the kids what is going on.”
Lima-Marin was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 98 years in prison nearly 20 years ago. He was mistakenly released early from custody 2008.
Lima-Marin married, had a child and got a steady job installing glass before state authorities realized their mistake in 2014 and sent him back for the remainder of his 98-year prison sentence.
This week he won the motion to reopen his immigration case.
Robbery victim Jason Kasperek believes Lima-Marin belongs behind bars.
“How many times is he going to do these illegal things inside our country?” Kasperek asked. “Haven’t we already given him a break?”
The Cuban immigrant was slated for deportation despite a pardon from Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Lima-Marin came to the U.S. from Cuba as a toddler. He never applied for citizenship, but U.S. relations with Cuba allowed him to stay. That continued until Lima-Marin was convicted of armed robbery and then flagged for deportation in 2000.
Kasperek believes Lima-Marin is getting the second chance he doesn’t deserve.
“Are we going to do this with everybody now? We can’t just do it with him and expect nobody else to come back and say what about me?” said Kasperek.
Now forced to talk to his family from the ICE facility in Aurora, Lima-Marin hopes a September court hearing will bring him one-step closer to freedom.
“I understand there’s a plan and a purpose for everything and everything is going to work out, I just need to be patient,” Lima-Marin said.
Kasperek plans to attend Lima-Marin’s September court hearing, even if he is not asked to speak as a victim.
The Lima-Marin family and the Meyer Law Office have created a CrowdJustice page to help raise money for the next phase of his legal fight.