Undocumented immigrant activist detained in WNY

BATAVA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Rausel Arista is employed and a leader in his community, a father of two and an activist. But the problem is he’s also undocumented.

Arista is a Mexican immigrant that came to the United States in his early 20s to escape poverty. He was in Buffalo visiting friends when Border Patrol agents detained him at Buffalo Niagara international airport on Monday for not having proper documentation.

He was released from the detention center in Batavia on Tuesday. His lawyer says Arista has a good case for what’s called a “cancellation of removal,” and only then would he be eligible for permanent residency.

Friends say Arista is a perfect example of an undocumented immigrant success story and why immigration reform needs to be addressed. Liz Beaumont was with him in Western New York.

“For the average person who’s been here in the country, there is no legal pathway to apply for a green card, work permit, driver’s license citizenship at all.”

His lawyer is working to change Arista’s immigration hearing to North Carolina. That’s where a judge will decide if he is eligible for a form of release and a green card.

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