Sylmar youth coach, in U.S. since age 3, battling deportation

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A popular youth football coach in Sylmar is battling his arrest by immigration agents.

In federal immigration court Thursday, 30-year-old Raymond Torres won his first round.

"Despite the Department of Homeland Security's arguments, they did not find Ray to be a danger. He found him to be somebody who had made remarkable changes and is a valued member of this community," said his lawyer Erika Roman-Maury.

An ICE spokesperson says that Torres had a criminal record including DUI, drugs and domestic violence.

In court, records revealed that the previous offenses were all misdemeanors.

Torres was brought to the U.S. when he was 3 years old.

He made a personal plea to the judge providing evidence that he had turned his life around.

"This is not who I am. The mistakes I made in the past. Who I am who you see before you today is somebody for the last four years has been taking care of their family, being a football coach and being somebody everybody adores," said Roman-Maury quoting Torres.

The judge is allowing Torres to be released after posting a $15,000 bond.

Torres' lawyer maintains that Torres' arrest was illegal because ICE agents did not have a warrant or police authority to stop Torres in his car. Torres was approached after he dropped off his son at Fenton Primary Center, a charter school in Pacoima.

ICE says warrants are not needed in most cases for administrative removal. Roman-Maury fears many immigrants do not know their rights.

"It is the Wild West and it is not OK. Even if you are not a citizen of the United States you are still entitled to protections that citizens have."
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