It has been an emotional roller coaster ride for 47-year-old Cloyd Edralin and his family.
Edralin, who is a green card holder, has been detained at this detention facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey since immigration and customs.
Enforcement arrested the Highland Park resident on June 4th, as he left his house for work.
Prosecutors had argued that Edralin’s 11-year-old conviction for handgun possession warranted deportation.
An immigration court judge on Thursday morning disagreed. The judge ordered to cancel his deportation.
“The judge was actually saying because what he was convicted of under NJ state law was essentially a BB gun, which is not against federal law,” said his wife Brandi.
Edralin’s arrest sparked protests in New Jersey.
His family and supporters joined others led by Reverend Seth Kaper Dale of the Reformed Church of Highland Park, and met with lawmakers in Washington DC in June, to convince them to halt the separation of immigrant families.
Edralin’s detainment was one of many similar cases nationwide over the past two years, according to reports, that have targeted green card holders with long resolved criminal cases.
“I got to thank the people who supported me, everyone. I would have never made it without them. Thank you. I never felt like this way before, actually I felt this way before when I the first time I met my wife. I’m glad it’s over. I can be with them now.”
The months he was away from his family, Edralin tells us, felt like years.
The first thing he’s going to do is to apply for that US citizenship. But he can’t help but think of the men he met inside, a couple of whom are Filipinos, who are still facing a long battle to stay in this country.