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 and they accidentally crossed into Mexico.
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. He is an honor student majoring in math and computer science and is set to graduate this year.
Because he violated the terms of the DACA program, Yakobi faces possible deportation to Israel. But his attorney, Jacob Sapochnick, said the wrong turn was an honest mistake, and his young client 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."
Sapochnick said he had contacted several local lawmakers, including Todd Gloria and Scott Peters, in an effort to get Yakobi released. Gloria sent a letter urging the release of Yakobi to ICE on Jan. 9.
"By all accounts, Mr. Yakobi had no intention of crossing the border and violating the requirements of the DACA program, " Gloria wrote. "Because ther are no extraordinary circumstances for his continued detention, I ask that Mr. Yakobi be immediately released or at a minimum, be paroled from Immigration and Customs Enforcement while the case is reviewed."
It was not immediately clear what the terms of Yakobi's release were.