Teacher on mission to help 22-year-old Dreamer in detention while awaiting DACA renewal

CONROE, Texas (KTRK) -- Alana Kubezka is on a mission to help a 22-year-old whose future in the U.S. is now in limbo.

Juan Zepeda-Alvarez was on a path to his 'American dream' after leaving behind his home country.

"His last living cousin was murdered in Honduras by the cartel," Kubezka said.

Kubezka, a teacher, has known Zepeda-Alvarez since he was 9 years old.

Now, the 22-year-old - who is also a Dreamer - is inside the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe. He is unable to leave while he waits for his DACA to renew.

Zepeda-Alvarez's lawyer says his client was taken in after a friend of his was arrested for possession of marijuana.

He says Zepeda-Alvarez didn't have any drugs on him, but he stayed in ICE custody because he has a prior conviction for marijuana.

Currently, he is under a 'mandatory detention' until his DACA renews.

He is also diabetic and his former teacher says his condition is getting worse.

"He has gout in his feet so last Thursday it became urgent because it started swelling," Kubeczka said.

She says he's unable to walk.

"I can't just sit by and watch him be hurt in this way and not do something about it," she added.

When asked for an update on Zepeda-Alvarez's legal status and condition, ICE released the following statement:

On Oct. 1, 2017, based on an immigration detainer, Juan Zepeda-Alvarez, 22, a citizen of Honduras who is illegally present in the U.S., was transferred from Montgomery County (Texas) Jail to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Montgomery County Sheriff's Department had arrested him on criminal charges. On March 8, 2018, Zepeda was ordered removed by an immigration judge; his appeal of the judge's order is pending with the Board of Immigration Appeals.

ICE takes very seriously the health, safety, and welfare of those in our care. Under agency protocols, when we receive a complaint regarding the medical care that an individual receives while in ICE custody, the ICE Health Service Corps (IHSC) reviews the case to determine whether the detainee received appropriate health services in relation to nationally recognized standards of detention health care and practices.
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