Breaking News
More () »

Immigration activist's future at risk over $27 Georgia cab fare

Eduardo Samaniego came to the U.S. at 16 as an undocumented immigrant. Now, being unable to come up with a higher-than-expected cab fare could change his life forever.

Just $27.75 put an undocumented immigrant activist in handcuffs. It's now been 73 days since he's been free.

Eduardo Samaniego went for a run and lost his phone; so, he took a taxi to get back home. The problem, though, was that he had just moved and he didn't remember how to get back home.

As the ride racked up a larger bill, Samaniego soon found himself with a fare of nearly $30 - and not enough cash to pay it. That was back in October. It's now the end of 2018 and he's still behind bars.

RELATED: 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in US custody had the flu, medical investigator says

His mother feels like her hands are tied while her son sits detained at the Irwin County Detention Center in south Georgia. Fifteen hundred miles is a long way for a mother in Zacatecas, Mexico.

She said that even though she came here from Mexico, she feels like she can't help him - and can't do anything for him.

"En su corazon quiere estar aqui," she said - in his heart, he wants to be here.

But, for Samaniego, his inability to pay a cab fare has led to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold.  He was then taken to Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility.

Pioneer Valley workers said Samaniego came to Georgia from Mexico when he was 15. Since then, they said he has been a nationally-recognized leader for his work on justice for immigrants in Georgia and Massachusetts.

Samaniego's mom said he called the U.S. home and returning to Mexico right now isn't a good option. She said that she wants him to stay in the United States so that he can get the medical treatment he needs.

RELATED: ICE detainee reunites with daughter, family after two years - just in time for Christmas

In 2015, she said her son was the victim of a gas explosion that covered 47 percent of his body with second and third-degree burns. Since then, she said he's had anxiety attacks.

She said that after that incident, he was thinking about the flames around him and he's had a sense of anxiety ever since.

For now, he remains in the Irwin Detention Center. His next hearing will be Thursday.

Before You Leave, Check This Out