UCSD Student and DACA Recipient in ICE Custody After Making Wrong Turn Near Border


UCSD senior Orr Yakobi was detained by Immigration officials on Dec. 7. (Photo published with Yakobi's attorney's permission.)

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UCSD student and DACA recipient Orr Yakobi was detained Sunday by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) after making a wrong turn near the U.S. Mexico Border coming back from San Ysidro.

First reported by 10News, Yakobi and his friend Ryan Hakim were visiting the Las Americas outlet mall in San Ysidro on Sunday near the border. On the way back, they accidentally took the 805 South freeway instead of the 805 North, which forced them into Mexico. When they turned around, Border Patrol officers flagged their car and detained Yakobi.

Yakobi, a fourth year computer science major, is undocumented. In May 2017, Yakobi, along with international business majors Hashim Bejar and Ashna Shroff, won a portion of a $50,000 prize for their start-up, Sin Fronteras Tax, which helps international workers who paid their taxes to collect a refund. According to his lawyer, immigration attorney Jacob Sapochnick, Yakobi was brought to the U.S. at 5 years old from Israel.

Sapochnick said Yakobi was initially being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and will be transferred to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility tonight. Sapochnick spoke to Yakobi earlier today.

“Essentially he did not have any intention to go to Mexico. And he told that to the CBP. He shouldn’t have left and yes he had DACA, but is there any common sense in our system? He made a wrong turn and now his life is pretty much over, because he doesn’t have any basis to stay here other than DACA,” Sapochnick said. “All we need right now is basically some sort of exception.”

Last Wednesday, UC Berkeley Junior Luis Mora was taken into ICE custody after being detained by CBP on Dec. 30 while traveling with his girlfriend.

UCSD Media Relations Representative Christine Clark provided a statement from the university shortly after this article was published. “UC San Diego is working with the student’s family and their attorney to assist in securing his release,” Clark said in an email. “We encourage any students with questions about services and resources available to undocumented students to contact the Undocumented Student Services Center on campus.”

Sapochnick said that while Daniel Alfaro, Director of the Undocumented Student Services Center, has reached out to him, no other university official has.

Gabe Schneider is the News Editor for The Triton.

This story was updated on Jan 10 at 9:41 am with comment from UCSD Media Relations and at 2:32 pm with clarification from Sapochnick.