Immigrant in N. Carolina wins reprieve from deportation

Charlotte, North Carolina, Apr 22 (EFE).- U.S. immigration authorities lifted a deportation order against Eduardo Mireles, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who coaches youth soccer teams in North Carolina.

Vincent Picard, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed Monday to Efe that the agency decided to reopen the case and administratively close the voluntary deportation that a judge signed last December after an "exhaustive review."

"ICE has adopted clear priorities for the identification and deportation of those people who have violated existing ... laws, those who have just crossed the borders, and ... fugitives from the immigration courts," Picard emphasized.

The Mireles case captured national attention when his 8-year-old granddaughter, Sharytin Hernandez, during a vigil tearfully asked ICE not to separate her from her grandfather.

"All of us in the family are very happy because they will not deport me to Mexico, and above all the girl. It was a difficult situation, but my recommendation to people is not to remain quiet, and to tell your story," Mireles told Efe on Monday.

He obtained the help of the NC Dream Team, which several weeks ago launched a signature collection campaign online to gather community support to prevent his deportation.

Viridiana Martinez, the founder of the group, confirmed Monday to Efe that at least 500 people joined the campaign to help the Mexican man, who immigrated 14 years ago to the Charlotte area from Mexico City and, since then, has coached little league soccer and volunteered with the Boy Scouts.

Mireles was arrested in August 2010 for driving with an expired license. A few days later he was sent to an immigration detention center in Atlanta but was released when his family paid bail of $5,000.

Over the past few months, ICE has halted the deportations of a number of undocumented foreigners in North Carolina who had been detained by local authorities, most of them for minor traffic infractions.