Arizona Student Detained by Border Control Released, Future Remains Uncertain

By Shani Saxon May 09, 2019

A Tucson, Arizona, high school senior has been released from federal custody nearly a week after he was apprehended by border agents.

According to, Thomas Torres-Maytorena is no longer in immigration lockup, but his future in the United States is still uncertain. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe said in a written statement to reporters, “On May 7, ICE placed Mr. Torres-Maytorena into removal proceedings and released him from custody,” she said. “An immigration judge with the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review will determine if Mr. Torres-Maytorena has legal basis to remain in the United States.”

Hundreds of Torres-Maytorena’s classmates, who walked out of their classes to protest his detainment, were thrilled to hear their friend had been released. Family friend Lorena Rodriguez wrote a celebratory post on Facebook upon hearing the news. “I want to give a huge thanks to every single Desert View student, teacher and faculty member who stood by our side throughout this traumatic experience,” she wrote.

As Colorlines previously reported, the 18-year old football player was pulled over in a routine traffic stop on May 2, just three weeks before he was scheduled to graduate from Desert View High School. He informed the Pima County Sheriff’s Department that he was an immigrant of undocumented status and officials turned him over to United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Torres-Maytorena’s court date was originally scheduled for May 22—the same day as his high school graduation. However, now that he’s been released, it’s unclear when he is expected to appear before a judge.