Pedro Gutierrez's nightmare has been put off for at least one year. The Feds told him that he had to be out of the country by next Tuesday. But, today they changed their minds.
After receiving pressure from activists and congressional leaders, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Gutierrez -- a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant, father to a U.S.-born child, and an aspiring Marine -- that he has one more year to stay in the country he's called home for the last 17 years.
"I don't know the language, I don't have any friends, I don't have any family," Gutierrez said about returning to Mexico, the country in which he was born, in a press conference on Thursday. Gutierrez says he was brought to the U.S. when he was just 6 or 7 years old and that Mexico would "be like a foreign country" to him.
Mo Goldman, Gutierrez's lawyer, said in the press conference on Thursday that his client would be the perfect candidate for the DREAM Act -- a measure which would create a pathway towards citizenship for undocumented students and soldiers who were brought to the country at a young age.
"Pedro is the prototypical DREAM Act eligible person. Pedro embodies the spirit of DREAMers," Mo Goldman said in a press call on Thursday.
In 2011, ICE Director John Morton established new guidelines that prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are dangerous criminals. Gutierrez's lawyer says that his client should benefit from these new guidelines as well, but has been given just one year to remain in the country.
However, according to Gutierrez, he has one speeding ticket and one traffic violation on his record. He insists that alcohol was not involved in either incident. After missing a court proceeding in 2009, Gutierrez served 8 days in jail.
The 24-year-old says his newborn daughter adds yet another dimension to his desire to stay in the country. Gutierrez and his girlfriend are currently discussing the option of getting married, which would likely help his case for staying in the U.S.
While Gutierrez is allowed to stay for at least a year, he has not been granted legal status, meaning he cannot legally work or serve in the armed forces.
"I'm in a limbo right now," Gutierrez said.
If he manages to get a green card, he says he will enlist in the armed forces.
"Even though some people don't consider this to be my country, I still feel like it is, and like I should try to give back," Gutierrez said.
WATCH: Pedro Gutierrez Tells His Story
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