CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Miguel Angel Tzitzios, an undocumented Uruguayan living in North Carolina, was released Tuesday from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Georgia.
The 53-year-old immigrant had been almost two months behind bars facing deportation for a minor traffic infraction.
“When they told me I couldn’t believe it. This is a miracle,” daughter Cristina Tzitzios told Efe on Tuesday. “We’re going to have a merry Christmas.”
Miguel Tzitzios was stopped by police Oct. 21 for driving with expired license plates.
Though he showed his expired driver’s license and a valid passport, he was taking to the Mecklenburg County jail, where he was subjected to Program 287(g), which determined his irregular immigration status, and a few days later he was handed over to ICE.
The agency suspended Tzitzios’ deportation for a year, ICE spokesman Vincent Picard told Efe on Tuesday.
“During that time, Tzitzios was able to explore legal alternatives with his attorney to regularize his immigration status in the country,” Picard said.
Tzitzios moved to Charlotte 13 years ago from Ecuador, where he was a professional soccer star in the 1980s and ‘90s.
“The family is very grateful to the people who helped get my father out, to the NC Dream Team that did such an excellent job of organizing phone calls and petitions on the Internet in order to free my father,” 21-year-old Cristina Tzitzios said. EFE