Lawyer: UC Berkeley student detained by immigration officials in San Diego County after making wrong turn

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BERKELEY (KRON) — A UC Berkeley student is being held by immigration authorities in San Diego County after federal officials say he violated the conditions of his visa.

Activists have organized a social media campaign, calling for the release of 20-year-old Luis Mora under the hashtag #freeluis.

Mora’s lawyer says he made a wrong turn, ended up at a border checkpoint, and was arrested on Dec. 30.

Authorities did not specify the circumstances of his arrest.

Mora’s attorney says ICE has not yet issued him a “notice to appear,” which is one of the first steps in placing a person into deportation proceedings.

It must be done within the first 72 hours.

Mora is a pre-law student at UC Berkeley.

Here is the full statement from UC Berkeley:

On Saturday, January 6, I sent a message of support and solidarity to the Berkeley students who are making extraordinary efforts to secure the release of our student detained near the U.S-Mexico border.

While I explained that student privacy laws and UC policy limit what we may say publicly about this matter, I assured them – and by extension all who care deeply about this matter – that campus leadership is taking all appropriate actions to support the student’s interests so that he may continue his studies and his life as a valued member of our community. He is not alone, nor are those working to secure his freedom. Thank you to our students who are organizing and working on his behalf. In particular, because of the efforts of Rising Immigrant Scholars Through Education (RISE), a student group dedicated to the empowerment of undocumented students, great progress has been made in this case.

We recognize the urgency of this moment. As such, the university is currently working to ensure that the student has access to legal advice, attorney services and other resources necessary to mount what we hope will be a successful effort to end this detention. In addition, in partnership with RISE, I have asked our government relations staff to work with our friends and allies in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., some of whom have issued statements advocating for our student’s release.

These efforts are a natural outgrowth of the national leadership of Berkeley and the University of California system in support of undocumented students, and we have no intention of backing down from our fundamental commitment to justice and equity. Our Undocumented Student Program, established in 2012 through the strong and consistent advocacy and leadership of our students and staff, was the first of its kind in the nation. The continued engagement and commitment of students, staff and community partners to respond to the specific needs of undocumented students has been invaluable, especially given the complex legal issues. Their efforts are truly unprecedented and continue to shape our understanding of the undocumented community’s evolving needs, and to shape the services, policies and protocols designed to effectively address them.

I am also ensuring that members of my administration and the campus community at large are aware of the opportunity they have to donate to the bail fund that our students have started. It can be found on the You Caring website. We will continue to explore every appropriate avenue that might allow us to use the campus’s influence and resources in support of our detained student.

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