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With Backing of Law Enforcement, an Undocumented Immigrant Gets a Reprieve


Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, center, after his release Wednesday upon being granted a $ 3,000 bond by an immigration judge in Missouri. Credit Nick Schnelle for The New York Times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, whose small Illinois town rallied around him when he was arrested for being in this country without immigration papers, was granted a $ 3,000 bond by an immigration judge here on Wednesday.

The bond will allow Mr. Hernandez, 38, to leave a Missouri jail while he awaits further hearings in the government’s case against him. Leaders from West Frankfort, Ill., where Mr. Hernandez is a restaurant manager, sent numerous letters to the judge urging him to allow Mr. Hernandez out on bond. Among supporters were the local county prosecutor and a leader from the Police Department. West Frankfort and its mostly white Southern Illinois county voted overwhelmingly for President Trump.

“You don’t typically see this kind of documentation,” Justin W. Howard, the immigration judge, said before setting a bond. The judge said he gave “particular weight” to the backing from law enforcement officials.

A lawyer for the government, which opposed freeing Mr. Hernandez while he awaits future hearings, noted that Mr. Hernandez had two convictions for drunken driving in 2007 and reserved the right to appeal the bond.

Mr. Hernandez appeared by video conference in the hearing from an immigration facility in St. Louis. Mr. Hernandez, whose friends say he entered the country from Mexico without permission in the late 1990s, said little during the hearing. At the news that he would be able to post a bond, he gave his lawyer, Victor Arana, a thumbs-up into the camera.

Correction: March 1, 2017

An earlier version of this article misstated the middle initial of Judge Justin Howard. He is Justin W., not Justin H.

Source: NYT > World

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