-- A man convicted of burglary has been temporarily released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody so that he can donate a kidney to his sister and potentially save her life.
Argenis Longoria-Lara, 27 had been serving a prison sentence for felony burglary, and a judge had ordered him deported to Mexico, ICE said in statements to ABC News today, adding that he was granted a six-month "stay of removal," released from custody on Thursday and placed on electronic monitoring.
Longoria-Lara reunited with his sister, Jazmin Longoria-Lara, at the family's church in Chicago after the two had not seen each other for more than four months. At the church, Argenis Longoria-Lara told reporters he plans on using his momentary freedom to start the process of donating one of his kidneys to his sister, who has a rare disease that affects kidney filtering functions.
"I mean, I didn't expect it," Argenis Longoria-Lara said. "I was really hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. It's the greatest news I've heard in a long time."
Jazmin Longoria-Lara, who had just undergone another round of dialysis prior to the meeting, was in tears after getting to hug her brother again.
"I was like, 'Oh, my God, is that him? Is that really him?'" she said. "It is him. Pinch me! I think I'm dreaming."
Though previous tests show the siblings are a kidney match, the two will undergo additional tests to prepare for transplant that could save Jazmin Longoria-Lara from renal failure, ABC News station WLS in Chicago reported.
After Argenis Longoria-Lara's six months of release expires, ICE said it will review his case to determine what further action is required.
Longoria-Lara “has a deportation order against him issued by a federal immigration judge,” ICE said in a statement. “ICE has stayed [halted] that order temporarily for six months to allow him time to pursue treatment, but the deportation order remains in effect.”