Chavez returns to UA Honors College 

The Peruvian-born student gains release after two month detainment.

Jonathan Chavez, the University of Arkansas Honors College student who was identified as being an alien during a random Immigration and Customs Enforcement sweep in Florida and detained in Fort Lauderdale for nearly two months, was released Feb. 4 on $1,000 bond and has returned to Fayetteville to resume his studies.

ICE officials stopped Chavez, 21, a native of Peru, as he got off a bus in Florida; he was on his way to visit his mother, who has legal residency, at Christmas.

Jonathan's parents moved from Peru to Rogers on tourist visas when Jonathan was in middle school. They have since divorced and remarried; Chavez' father and younger sister also are legal residents. They did not apply for residency for Jonathan because of bad legal advice, Chavez' Fort Lauderdale lawyer, Sandra Lambert, has said.

The senior voice major, who graduated with a 4.0 grade point average from high school in Rogers and now has a 3.8 at the U of A, was released Feb. 4 by ICE. He returned to Fayetteville last week. Lambert, Chavez' attorney, told the Times she did not know why ICE had decided to release Lambert; she was preparing for a bond hearing set for Feb. 17. She speculated that ICE acted because of publicity in the case or because Chavez has applied for deferred action on his deportation. Chavez said in a post on the Facebook page "Praying for Jonathan Chavez," set up by supporters in December, that he hopes the Department of Homeland Security will transfer his deferral hearing to Arkansas.

Chavez "is an all-around good kid," Lambert said, the kind of person "deferred action is intended for." She said he would have been a "prime candidate" for the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act. That proposal, defeated in Congress last year, would have allowed undocumented persons who arrive in the United States as minors to apply for permanent residency after completing two years in college or the military.

A member of Christ on Campus ministry at the U of A and a former counselor at Camp War Eagle in the Ozarks, Chavez participated in several Bible study groups in the detention facility. He told a friend he met at Camp Ozark who is now a youth minister in Wichita, Kan., that "it was the best Christmas break he ever had." Chavez was convinced that God was working through the ICE officials.

In a post thanking his supporters that he made after his release on the "Praying for Jonathan" site Chavez wrote, "Best winter break I ever had. I was able to share God's love, how great is that?"

Bob McMath, dean of the Honors College, said the university had asked Homeland Security to allow Chavez to be released on bond so he could continue his studies. But like Chavez' lawyer Lambert, he was surprised that release came before the scheduled bond hearing.

Chavez is legally enrolled at the university as a paying student. McMath said he could not say whether Chavez was getting tuition assistance from private funds.


Speaking of...


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Coming to McLeod: Hursley and Simmons, land and dreamscapes

    Heads up for Thursday, Oct. 27: Matt McLeod Fine Art Gallery opens "Landscapes/Dreamscapes: At the Crossroads of Observation and Memory," an exhibition of drawings and paintings by Little Rock artists Jeanie Lockeby Hursley and  Dominique Simmons. 
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • Good Weather, outdoors and in (Elliott Earls)

    If you read this week's Arts and Entertainment feature on Good Weather Gallery, you are probably wanting to know a little bit more about the show opening tomorrow, Oct. 22: Elliott Earls' "Death of a Salesman."
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • White Water gets Southern Salted

    Lauren McCants, the Southern Salt Co. food truck founder and chef, is now serving food at the White Water Tavern Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday. On the menu: hamburgers and cheeseburgers (of course) as well as deep fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, deep fried chicken sandwiches, a smoked bologna and over-easy egg sandwich (real good, she says), chicken nachos and a special, like coconut curried chicken. There are vegetarian options, as well: Deep-fried tofu sandwiches, prepared with avocado and like a fish taco; and sweet potato and avocado tacos.
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Kanis development decried

    Fletcher Hollow wrong place for density, neighbors tell LR planners.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Visit Arkansas

Five Fun Fall Activities

Five Fun Fall Activities

Autumn temps are perfect for outdoor activities

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation