UC San Diego ‘Dreamer’ From Israel Arrested After Roommate Makes Wrong Turn Into Mexico

Update:  A University of California San Diego student who was arrested by border officers after a wrong turn at the U.S.-Mexico border has been released from custody, his lawyer said. Read KTLA's latest story here

A UC San Diego student is in the custody of federal authorities and faces possible deportation after a wrong turn at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.

Orr Yakobi, 22, has been in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement since Sunday, when his friend took the wrong exit after leaving the Las Americas Premium Outlets in San Ysidro. The pair were unable to turn around and forced to cross into Mexico.

In all, the trip out of the country lasted only about 45 seconds, the Los Angeles Times reported.

As someone who is part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA, Yakobi was not allowed to leave the country and come back without a special permit.

Yakobi's parents brought him to the U.S. from Israel at the age of 5 on a visa that expired and was not renewed. He is an honor student majoring in math and computer science and was set to graduate this year.

He and his roommate, 20-year-old Ryan Hakim, had gone to the mall that day to celebrate their last day of break before classes resumed. It was to be Yakobi's final quarter at the school, according to the L.A. Times.

Hakim told the newspaper that he knew Yakobi was unable to leave the U.S. but never understood exactly why. It hadn't seemed an important part of their friendship before the arrest, he said.

“All I can think about is Orr. I’m having a hard time focusing in my classes,” Hakim told the newspaper. “It was all innocent. There was no intention of leaving. It makes it more frustrating that this guy was not trying to leave the country. He’s an American. He lives in this country.”

Hakim started an online petition for Orr's release that had gathered nearly 7,000 signatures by Friday afternoon.

Yakobi's attorney, Jacob Sapochnick, said the wrong turn was an honest mistake. He said Yakobi should not be deported to a country he has never known.

"He's never been to jail. He's a good boy. He's not a criminal. He doesn't know how to handle it," Sapochnick told KSWB. "He's been here since he was 5. He has no accent. This is his country. He doesn't remember anything from Israel, his Israeli origin."

Yakobi is currently negotiating his release and is getting support from lawmakers, including Todd Gloria and Scott Peters. He anticipates the process could take several weeks.

"These DACA kids are important to us," Sapochnick said. "We are going to do whatever it takes to make them stay here because we need them in this country. They support our economy, they help and so I think it's a strong message to whoever is making those decisions and hopefully will help us in our efforts to release him as well."

On Tuesday, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump administrations' efforts to end DACA.