An Anaheim father expected to be deported Tuesday morning is still in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody within the U.S., an immigration official stated.
Marcos Villanueva was scheduled to leave an Irvine immigration facility at 5 a.m., however, an ICE official issued the following statement upon KTLA's request for an update Tuesday morning.
“Mr. Villanueva remains in ICE custody pending his removal from the U.S.,” the statement issued shortly before 10 a.m. read.
The 40-year-old father has been in ICE custody since he was detained on Aug. 8.
Just before he was picked up by ICE, Villanueva testified in court on behalf of his 12-year-old daughter who had accused her uncle of molesting her. The molestation case was eventually dismissed due to lack of evidence, the Orange County Register reported.
Family members believe the uncle then retaliated by contacting ICE about Villanueva, who fled to the U.S. 13 years ago from Honduras after apparently watching a friend get murdered.
Villanueva has no criminal record and will likely be killed if he’s sent back to Honduras, attorney Willard Bakeman said.
ICE, meanwhile, says anyone in violation of immigration laws is subject to being removed from the U.S.
“Records show that on August 23rd, 2005, he was encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol, issued a notice to appear and ordered deported by an immigration judge,” an ICE statement read.
Bakeman told the O.C. Register that Villanueva never had a chance to appear in court because the paperwork he received didn’t indicate a time or location. He also told the paper that Villaneuva has a "good" claim for asylum that has not been heard.
Bakeman has filed for an emergency stay of removal.