ICE grants marriage waiver for man to rejoin Fort Bragg husband
Posted May 15, 2018 12:35 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:15 a.m. EDT
Sanford, N.C. — On Monday, after five days of detention, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) granted a Triangle man a waiver to allow him to return to his husband, a Fort Bragg Army chaplain.
Sergio Avila-Rodriguez and Tim Brown had been working toward legal status since their January 2017 marriage. Avila-Rodriguez was taken into custody last week as an immigrant fugitive at what the couple thought was a routine hearing along that long road.
Avila-Rodriguez was born in Honduras, and he came to the United States, illegally, at the age of 7. In January 2015, he was convicted of DWI in Durham.
“Thank you. We are overwhelmed with the support and coverage we have received, and because of these efforts Sergio is coming home. There is still a long way to go for Sergio. Furthermore there are countless others who are also in need of our help, of your help. While this is a huge victory, it is only the beginning for Sergio and others like him," Brown said Monday.
Avila-Rodriguez was released from the Stewart Detention Center, an ICE detainee facility, in Lumpkin, Ga., and he does not face immediate deportation.
The waiver allows the couple to be reunited at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to his DWI, Avila was considered a criminial alien because he missed a court date on his immigration status in 2002.
"When he was 7, his uncle brought them to North Carolina. He had no clue it was a court date as a 7-year-old," Brown said.
Brown said Avila has spent almost his entire life in the United States and fears for his safety if he goes back to Honduras as a member of the gay community.