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Thursday, April 13, 2006

This is weird

Doesn't want to go back to Mexico

A tale of hope gets a jarring new chapter
Celebrated immigrant faces intruder charge

By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff | April 13, 2006

It was a story that touched the hearts of Minnesotans. But now it has taken a surprising turn, in Boston.
A homeless, 22-year-old, undocumented immigrant from Mexico was found secretly living inside a Twin Cities high school last year, using the showers and foraging for cafeteria food. Francisco Javier Serrano's story captivated the news media there and moved a wealthy developer to provide him with money, an immigration attorney, and a rent-free apartment overlooking downtown Minneapolis.

But immigration officials ordered Serrano back to Mexico. Officials believed that he boarded a plane for his home country Jan. 5, and it seemed to be a closed case.

Then, two weeks ago, a tenant in Boston's North End heard a sound inside his apartment. A man with a knife had broken in. The tenant struck the intruder with a kitchen pan, and police responded to find Serrano and the tenant in a struggle, authorities said.

Now, Serrano sits in Suffolk County Jail facing charges of home invasion. And authorities, the friends he made in Minnesota, and even his mother in Mexico City are trying to figure out how and why the baby-faced, quiet man ended up in a stranger's apartment in Boston.

''I'm absolutely shocked," said Rochelle Barrett, who along with her husband, the developer Basim Sabri, hired an immigration lawyer for Serrano. ''I never saw this side of him. I never thought he could be capable of doing something like this."

A spokesman for the Twin Cities office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Tim Counts, said his agency has no idea how Serrano got to Boston, but expects to gain custody and deport him.

A federal immigration judge had granted Serrano permission to leave the United States voluntarily by Jan. 5. But now officials suspect he never boarded the plane after waving goodbye to supporters and journalists who saw him off at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

For weeks after his scheduled departure, neither his family in Mexico nor his friends in Minnesota heard from Serrano. Barrett became worried when he did not pick up $1,000 she wired to Mexico City

posted by Steve @ 11:12:00 AM

11:12:00 AM

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