Juan Vivares, a 29-year-old Bronx man, has been released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody just over two weeks after ICE officials detained him during a routine check-in.

The husband and new father fled to the US from his native Colombia in 2011 after paramilitary forces in Medellín reportedly attempted to murder him for his support of a mayoral candidate. Vivares has no criminal record, but has been technically eligible for deportation since November 2016. His asylum application was denied that month when he failed to provide direct evidence of the threat he faced in Colombia.

During his detention, Vivares shuttled between detention centers in Texas and Louisiana.

"The experience was very hard," Vivares told reporters on Thursday. "The worst was when they sent me to another facility out of New York, away from my wife and kid and lawyer."

He went on to describe the family reunion. "When I gave [my wife] a hug, I felt warm again," Vivares said. "And then later in the afternoon I saw the little boy and he gave me that smile that he always gives me when I see him. That was the most powerful moment."

Vivares has been granted a stay of removal by the Board of Immigration Appeals, while it considers a family-based petition on his behalf, according to ICE and the 32BJ property service workers union. The union hosted a rally for Vivares when he was detained—his wife is a member—and has been monitoring the case, along with his attorney.

On Thursday, Vivares thanked his wife for "making his case a public one." His detention was condemned by the Freelancers Union and the NY Taxi Workers Alliance, as well as Senator Chuck Schumer and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; a Move On petition for his release received over 2,778 signatures.

Attorney Rebecca Press told Gothamist last month that her client's detention was further evidence of a sea change in ICE enforcement since President Donald Trump's election. According to Press, during the Obama administration it was common for ICE to approve family-based petitions for non-citizens with citizen families.

"Under the last administration, it was the very, very rare case where someone in this position, who had a path toward legalization that could be obtained within the US, would be prevented from pursuing that," Press said at the time.

ICE spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow stated that Vivares "has received a stay of removal by the Board of Immigration Appeals pending the adjudication of his motion" and "has been released from ICE custody on an order of supervision." The supervision order entails constant GPS monitoring of his whereabouts—part of an Alternative to Detention program for individuals ICE deems flight risks, she confirmed.

Vivares's wife, 39-year-old Yahaira Burgos, is a doorwoman on the Upper East Side. She explained last month that she relies on her husband to care for their 14-month-old son, Christopher, when she works night shifts. "It is very, very hard because I usually work Tuesday and Wednesday overnight and he's the one who is taking care [of our son]," she said.

On Thursday, Press warned that Vivares's fight for green card status is far from over.

"He was fleeing political violence, he is married to a US citizen... and yet Juan is just barely eligible to obtain lawful permanent residency," she said. "We will use that 'just barely' to the fullest extent possible. But the bigger point is that our law is entirely too narrow, too strict, and too complicated if someone like Juan is just barely eligible. Whatever room does exist gets much, much smaller for any immigrant who has had a brush with the law."

"From my perspective, if immigration law is defined by one thing, is that we as human beings are defined by our worst acts," Press added.

Steven Choi, director of the New York Immigration Coalition, stressed Thursday that immigrants are facing routine ICE check-ins daily in New York City.

This is a "rare shining moment of joy and happiness," he said, adding, "every single day there are dozens of people who go into a check-in with ICE who think that this is the last day they will hug their son or daughter."