Federal authorities have canceled the temporary deferred status of an illegal immigrant who is the face of so-called “dreamers” in the Atlanta area, opening the door to her possible deportation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement stripped Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections from Jessica Colotl, a 28-year-old Mexican national, because she admitted to making a false statement to law enforcement following an arrest in 2010. A government lawyer asked an immigration judge to issue a deportation order on May 3, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
ICE confirmed Wednesday that Colotl’s case falls within with government policy not to offer protected status to certain categories of illegal immigrants. Officials have canceled DACA status for about 1,500 people since the start of the program in 2012 because of “criminality or gang affiliation concerns,” agency spokesman Bryan Cox said in a statement.
“Deferred action does not, in any way, prevent (the Department of Homeland Security) from moving forward with execution of a removal order,” Cox added. (RELATED: Candidate Trump Promised To Terminate DACA. President Trump Says DREAMers Should ‘Rest Easy’)
Colotl was arrested in 2010 and charged with impeding traffic and driving without a license on the campus of Kennesaw State University, where she was studying at the time. Her arrest sparked a political debate over illegal immigration when the school revealed it was charging her in-state tuition. She later became a vocal proponent of immigration reform and a paralegal at Kuck Immigration Partners LLC, an Atlanta law firm specializing in deportation defenses.
Colotl signed a document in 2011 admitting she gave Cobb County law enforcement officers a false home address, for which she was charged with a felony. Although the case was eventually dismissed, Colotl’s confession was sufficient cause to remove DACA status, according to ICE.
“Ms. Colotl was subsequently allowed to enter a diversionary program by local authorities,” Cox said. “However, under federal law her guilty plea is considered a felony conviction for immigration purposes.”
Colotl is challenging ICE’s decision in federal district court in Atlanta. Her lawsuit accuses the government of using her as “a test case to revoke DACA, exceeding its discretionary authority in an arbitrary and capricious manner,” reports the Journal-Constitution.
“It is completely outrageous,” Colotl said. “On Monday when I first found out about this, I felt shock because I didn’t know this could potentially happen.”
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