Eduardo Caraballo was arrested last week in connection with a stolen car in Berwyn.
Even though Caraballo's mother paid his bail he spent the weekend in the custody of federal immigration agents. He gave agents his ID and birth certificate, but Caraballo says officials remained skeptical and said he appeared to be Mexican.
Only after Congressman Luis Gutierrez interceded was Caraballo set free.
"I never thought I'd be in this position where I am being told I am not a citizen," said Caraballo. "Hopefully this is going to change, because there are citizens that don't speak English, and they got it a lot worse. At least I had my mother to help me out."
Caraballo says he is considering legal action.
Calls for comment by immigration officials were not returned.