Family of Irishman facing deportation from US 'over the moon' he has been released from prison
The family of the Irishman facing deportation from the United States have said they are "over the moon" after he was released from prison.
Keith Byrne, from Fermoy in Cork, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers more than two weeks ago.
The married father-of-three has been living in the US for 12 years and runs a painting business over there.
Since marrying his American wife in 2009, they have been in the process of adjusting his status. However, his green card applications were refused due to previous minor offences for marijuana possession
On Thursday, Mr. Byrne was temporarily released for a period of 30 days. This will allow him to try and look for judicial review of his case.
Mr. Byrne's father, Jim, explained on RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland that he had been "not long to of the hospital" when his son had been first detained by ICE officers - which "took a bit of a toll" on him.
“It’s been an awful fortnight. But I was over the moon when I heard he'd been released - and to see his name come up on the phone when he called was fantastic, as well," he said.
He added that he was now convinced his son would be able to spend his future in the United States - and revealed what he had spoken about with his son on Thursday night.
"He said he expected a lot of attention in the morning, he said, and he wasn't sure how to handle it. He said he was looking forward to being with his wife and family over the weekend, and that's foremost in his mind at the moment," he said.
Mr. Byrne's sister, Melinda, said that he had been "confused, overwhelmed" but "so happy" when she spoke to him after he had been released.
She also spoke about what the next move would be now that Mr. Byrne has been reunited with his family.
"What will happen now is, I presume, he'll seek an extension to the period of 30 days and prepare their case to go in front of a federal judge. We just have to wait and see how long that will take.
"It's just, to take it day-by-day - and the most important thing is to seek the extension."