Cheers of “welcome home” erupted outside the United States Appraisers Building in San Francisco, California, Monday morning as Fernando Carrillo became a free man.
The Mexican immigrant and father of three was arrested in October while dropping his daughter off at day care.
Carrillo’s lawyer, Hedi Framm-Anton, told ABC News he had been released this morning. His lawyer said Carrillo -- who has a drunken-driving offense and prior deportations on his record, according to the San Jose Mercury News -- was initially detained because he re-entered the U.S. illegally after he was removed.
He spent months in detention until an immigration judge's order overruled a removal order for Carrillo last Thursday. The government does not plan to appeal the decision.
Carrillo’s reunion with his family streamed live on the “Free Fernando” Facebook page, which is managed by his wife, Lourdes Barraza.
Carrillo will be allowed to remain in the U.S. under a withholding of removal order, granted to people who prove there’s a chance they’ll be persecuted in their home country, the Mercury News reported. His lawyer said it would be dangerous for Carrillo to return to Mexico.
“He has family ties with law enforcement,” Framm-Anton said, adding Carrillo has a “member of family group prosecuting crime in Mexico.”
Framm-Anton said Carrillo feared for his life.
But the judge's order will allow Carrillo -- whose wife and three daughters are U.S. citizens, according to the Mercury News -- to stay in the U.S. "forever," his lawyer said. Framm-Anton said Carrillo can get a work permit but is not entitled to get a green card or travel outside the U.S.
“He was a very lucky individual. Very lucky. These cases are incredibly difficult to win,” Framm-Anton said, “and detained persons have limited access to lawyers.”
ABC News has reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and San Francisco Immigration Court, but did not immediately hear back.