Laurel, Md. (WUSA9) -- (UPDATE) Immigration authorities have released Manny Shoemaker-Minardi, a Laurel man who has been in the U.S. since immigrating legally with his father at age 4.
"I was really worried I wasn't going to get a chance to see my family again," Shoemaker-Minardi said from his home Tuesday. He reminas terrified that he may be deported to Paraguay, a country he has visited only twice in 24 years.
Shoemaker-Minardi remains scheduled for a deportation hearing May 13th. He was detained when authorities detected 10-year-old criminal records for offenses he committed as a teen growing up in Columbia, Md.
His case has now attracted the attention of Maryland congressman Dutch Ruppersberger and Senator Ben Cardin, who have responded to family requests to review the situation.
Shoemaker-Minardi, a native of Paraguay who holds a permanent residency "green card" was detained after returning home from a cruise to the Bahama's with his wife early in April. He has lived in the U.S. since pre-school and is married with two young daughters.
"This is tearing us apart," cried his wife Angela in an interview with WUSA9. She says the family should not be shattered over convictions related to mistakes made by her husband more than 10 years ago. Shoemaker-Minardi was convicted and served jail time for charges related to a failed joyriding prank in an electric cart at a local golf course when he was 19, his wife said.
Shoemaker-Minardi's criminal record includes 4th degree burglary, theft, marijuana and a weapon charge.
Since then Shoemaker-Minardi has married, had 2 daughters and holds down a job installing solar energy systems to support his family.
Immigration authorities released a statement saying the government is following "common sense policies...focused on the identification and removal of those who have broken criminal laws."
The circumstances have led to 2000 signatures on an on-line petition for Shoemaker-Minardi, but so far no Maryland member of Congress has agreed to get involved.
"There's nothing constructive about an employed man who's taking care of his family being detained," said his sister Fatima Shoemaker- Minardi, now a US citizen. "Particularly since he has been here with documentation since he was a little boy."