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3 teens caught in immigration raid are returned to San Diego

June 17, 2009 |  3:53 pm

Three teenagers swept up in an immigration raid while on their way to school a month ago have been returned to San Diego from Mexico as a  "humanitarian" gesture, the U.S. Border Patrol and the American Friends Service Committee said Wednesday.

The three students — a girl and two boys — were among 21 people detained by U.S. agents as undocumented immigrants May 20 at the trolley stations in the Old Town area of San Diego.

All three chose to voluntarily return to Mexico and were placed with family members, the Border Patrol said.

Now they have received temporary visas for "urgent humanitarian reasons" so they can be reunited with their families in San Diego. In exchange, they agreed to appear before an immigration judge to determine if they can remain in this country.

"No matter where you stand on the immigration debate in this country, children should be allowed to go to school without fear of being deported," said Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee.

Rios said that the decision of U.S. officials to allow the three students to return "is a step in the right direction."

—Tony Perry in San Diego