Local News

Jailed illegal immigrant facing deportation granted bond

Posted March 14, 2012 7:39 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2012 8:13 p.m. EDT

— A Winston-Salem man jailed for disrupting a legislative committee meeting two weeks ago was granted a $7,500 bond Wednesday, a day before an immigration judge in Charlotte was expected to hear his case.

Uriel Alberto, 24, of Winston-Salem, and two other people – Estephania Mijangos-Lopez, 20, of Sanford, and Cynthia Martinez, 21, of Broadway, were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct Feb. 29 after they interrupted a House committee meeting on immigration and proclaimed themselves to be illegal immigrants.

“I’m thrilled that ICE granted Uriel a $7,500 bond, and believe it was the right thing to do," Alberto's attorney, Beckie Moriello, told the advocacy group NC Dream Team Wednesday. "That said, I want to emphasize how incredibly unusual this decision was."

Mijangos-Lopez and Martinez were both released from jail shortly after their arrests, but authorities held Alberto because of a criminal history that includes traffic violations and driving with a revoked license.

Alberto said he was protesting with the advocacy group NC Dream Team, in part, how U.S. immigration laws affect immigrants who have been raised in America yet cannot obtain citizenship as adults.

He said in an interview with WRAL News Monday that he realizes he can be deported.

"I knew what I was up against, and I knew the consequences of my actions," he said. "If we could go back in time and I had the choice of doing it again, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

NC Dream Team is raising money to pay for his bond, which the group said in a statement is "an important first step and an important first victory."

"The campaign for his release will now shift toward fighting his deportation," the organization said.