A Harvard University student stranded for months in Mexico is back on U.S. soil.
Dario Guerrero Meneses, 21, crossed through the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Meneses was granted a humanitarian visa last week and tried to pick up his permit at the U.S. consulate in Tijuana Monday. However, a technical glitch at the consulate forced him to remain in Mexico until Tuesday afternoon, according to his attorney's office.
Meneses had been in his native country since July. He took his dying mother to Mexico to receive alternative treatment for cancer when chemotherapy failed. She died in August.
Meneses knowingly broke immigration rules because time was of the essence and he didn't realize emergency permits were available, his attorney said.
The Harvard student came to the U.S. illegally at age 2, but he was granted reprieve from deportation in 2012 under the Dream Act.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service initially declared Meneses had effectively deported himself when he left the county in July. He said he knew the risks but does not regret his decision.
“I don’t hope to set a bad example, but I did what I had to do," Meneses said Tuesday. "I’m thankful to be back, and I don’t want to waste this opportunity to succeed in the United States.”
Meneses is a third-year film student at Harvard. He said he plans to make a documentary about his experience.
“I just like to share my story and give people hope. No matter what the challenges you’re facing, there’s always hope and there’s always a way to make things work," he said.
From here, Meneses will travel to Long Beach to meet with his father and two siblings. He plans to return to Harvard next year. He will have to reapply for the Dream Act in January.