Protesters call for ICE to release detained South LA pastor

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Demonstrators gathered in downtown Los Angeles to call for the release of a South Los Angeles pastor who is facing deportation. (KABC)

Demonstrators gathered in downtown Los Angeles to call for the release of a South Los Angeles pastor who is facing deportation.

Noe Carias has lived in the United States for more than 20 years and has a wife and two children who are citizens.

His wife says he used to check with immigration every year and was granted a stay of removal.

Not this time.

When he checked in with immigration officials on Monday, he was detained.

"Mr. Carias is a repeat immigration violator who has assumed multiple identities and nationalities over the years in order to evade federal immigration enforcement," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement. "During previous encounters with immigration authorities, his actions have established a pattern of misrepresentation or deception to law enforcement, resulting in his removal from the United States on at least three occasions. "

ICE noted that Carias had been granted stays of removal in 2015 and 2016, but was denied in May 2017.

His attorney said the misrepresentation cited by ICE was when Carias left for Mexico as a teen to visit his ill parents. He was detained when trying to return to the United States and told authorities he was Mexican to avoid being deported to Guatemala.

Church leaders gathered outside the federal building downtown to urge his release, saying he is a valued member of society.

"Set free our pastor, Noe Carias," said Sergio Navarrette, superintendent for the Southern Pacific District of Assemblies of God. "He is a good member of our nation."

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