Aaron Colen

Fernando Carrillo is an immigrant who has lived in the United States illegally for nearly 15 years. He was arrested by immigration agents in October and faced the threat of deportation, before a California judge ruled Friday that Carrillo could remain in the country for good, The Mercury News reports.

What’s the story?

Carrillo, the husband of an American citizen and father of three daughters, was arrested while dropping his daughter off at daycare in October.

He’s been deported before, and was once convicted of drunk driving. He works as a cable television installer.

After he was arrested, his family considered moving to Canada rather than following him back to Mexico, where his wife, Lourdes Barraza, said the children would be exposed to violence and corruption.

“If it was just me and Fernando, we could go and start anywhere,” Barraza said. “But we’re talking about taking our kids out of the country that they were born in and that they’ve known. That’s my anxiety more than anything as a mother.”

On Friday, Judge Joseph Park issued a “withholding of removal” order that will grant Carrillo, 33, a work permit and the ability to stay in the U.S. permanently (as long as he commits no other crimes), although he will not have a path to citizenship.

A withholding of removal order can be issued by an immigration judge when a person demonstrates there is a greater than 50 percent probability that they will face persecution if they return to their home country.

Carrillo’s attorney, Hedi Framm-Anton, told The Mercury News that a blood relationship with someone in Mexico involved in fighting a “certain type of crime” led to the issuance of the order.

An emotional release

Carrillo was released Monday in San Francisco. A crowd was present for his emotional reunion with his family, as the case had gained significant media attention in the months following his arrest.

“It feels like I was just born again,” Carrillo said. “God gave me another chance to be with my family and I’m just thankful.”