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Man avoids deportation after plea agreement

Felony theft conviction reduced to misdemeanor

PORTLAND – A 20-year-old Happy Valley man whose deportation for a felony theft conviction was stopped just short of the border with Mexico has been released after a year in detention and has rejoined his family.

Edson Barrera Gonzalez had pleaded guilty in a bargain that was aimed at eventually reducing the case to a misdemeanor, but the felony conviction was a threshold for deportation proceedings, The Oregonian reported.

He’d been accused last year of giving unauthorized discounts at a Macy’s department store and ringing up false returns to benefit his parents.

The plea bargain called for reducing the count to a misdemeanor once he paid back $1,526, and served 10 days in jail and probation.

Federal authorities moved to deport him, and he spent a year at a Tacoma detention center.

But his cause was taken up Ralph Isenberg, a Dallas real estate developer who has become an immigration advocate, and a judge in Clackamas County ordered that the case be treated as a misdemeanor.

Gonzalez was being transported out of the country and was in New Mexico when he learned of the order.

He and his family have made restitution.

Gonzalez was released Wednesday afternoon from the Portland Federal Building and was greeted by his family.

“My son is home,” said Barbara Gonzalez in some of the few English words she speaks.

Edson Gonzalez said he plans to re-enroll in Clackamas Community College within weeks.

“I just still can’t believe it,” he said.


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