UCSD Student Detained After Accidentally Crossing Border


Amalia Huerta Cornejo

UCSD senior and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient Orr Yakobi was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Mexico–United States Border, 10News reported last night. Because DACA recipients are not allowed to leave the country without certain documentation, Yakobi was denied re-entry to the U.S. after he and another UCSD student accidentally made a wrong turn that took them across the border.

DACA, which was rescinded by President Trump in Sept. 2017, is an Obama-era policy that offers protections to undocumented youth who arrived in the U.S. as minors, like Yakobi, whose family immigrated from Israel.  

10News stated that Yakobi and his friend, Ryan Hakim, were leaving the Las Americas outlet mall, located near the border in San Ysidro, and took Interstate-805 going south instead of north by accident,  which “forced them into Mexico.” According to Anthony Pura, a 10News reporter, when they turned around, Yakobi was flagged at the checkpoint, questioned, and eventually handcuffed and detained.

“That was the last time I saw him,” Hakim said in his interview. “They basically told him you’re going to be taken to another facility. Then another guy came in and told him to put his hands behind his back, and he was handcuffed in front of me.”

According to 10News, Yakobi’s parents hired Jacob Sapochnick, an immigration attorney to negotiate his release.

“Yakobi’s parents brought him to the U.S. at a young age. He qualified for the DACA program, and the U.S. is the only home he’s known,” Sapochnick told the local media channel.

Sapochnick added that “DREAMers are not allowed to leave the country and come back unless they have a special permit,” noting that “[Yakobi]’s case was an honest mistake.”

“He just literally drove out the border, made a U-turn, explained it to the officers, (and) they refused to listen,” Sapochnick said.

There is no word yet on the progress of Sapochnick’s negotiations, but the UCSD Guardian will continue to update this story as information is released.

Photo from Quartz