He and his girlfriend were driving back from a party on Dec. 30, when they made a wrong turn and ran into a temporary immigration checkpoint set up in Jamul, east of San Diego.
Mora's attorney, Prerna Lal, says he was honest and told them that he wasn't an American citizen, that he was from Ecuador and they took him into custody.
Mora came to the US as an 11-year-old. His visa expired. He's now a political science major at Cal. Mora's attorney says the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to set up a temporary immigration checkpoint at anytime anywhere within 100 miles of a border, an airport or the coastline so in essence in the majority of California
Lal said, "The law states that if you've lived in the U.S. for more than two years and can prove that, then you're entitled to an immigration hearing before a judge. So Luis has that right."
But Mora is still in a detention facility and supporters want him released. Senators Kamala Harris and Diane Feinstein, as well as Representative Barbara Lee, are making calls on his behalf.
"He's scared but he's also hopeful," Lal added.