Quick Hit Ellyn Fortino Thursday February 4th, 2016, 3:08pm

Advocates: U.S. Immigration Authorities Must Reverse Decision To Deport DACA Recipient

An undocumented 32-year-old mother of three living in Valparaiso, Indiana who was deported to Mexico earlier this week will soon return to the United States after immigration officials reversed their decision to deport her, immigrant advocates said Thursday.

Lesly Sophia Cortez-Martinez's case is far from settled, however, as she is expected to face deportation proceedings when she returns to the United States.

"Thankfully for Lesly she can reunite with her family, even though she could face a long court battle," Cortez-Martinez's attorney Mony Ruiz-Velasco said on a Thursday morning conference call with reporters.

Cortez-Martinez, who came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 15, is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient. The program grants temporary protection against deportation to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States prior to the age of 16.

A nursing assistant and mother of three U.S. citizen children, Cortez-Martinez recently received permission from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to travel to Mexico City to visit her family through the "advance parole" process, immigrant advocates said. But upon her return to the United States last Sunday, she was purportedly detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities at O'Hare International Airport. 

Immigrant advocates say Cortez-Martinez was detained, and ultimately deported to Mexico on Tuesday, due to a prior deportation order from 2004. The 2004 deportation order, however, had not impacted Cortez-Martinez's DACA eligibility, according to Ruiz-Velasco. A message seeking comment on the detainment and deportation was left with CBP.

Ruiz-Velasco claims Cortez-Martinez was "wrongfully and inhumanely detained at the airport with her two young children," including an 8-month-old baby. Ruiz-Velasco said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refused to review the emergency stay of removal she filed on Cortez-Martinez's behalf.

Cortez-Martinez's case set off a social media campaign this week spearheaded by the #Not1More campaign, which has collected over 2,300 signatures against her deportation.

By Wednesday, Ruiz-Velasco said CBP had reversed its deportation order against Cortez-Martinez, allowing her to come back to the United States. Cortez-Martinez is expected to return on Thursday. However, Ruiz-Velasco said CBP intends to place her in deportation proceedings upon her arrival.

"We will be asking and hope that DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] will not place Lesly in removal proceedings so that she can put this horrible experience behind her and be reunited with her family in the United States," Ruiz-Velasco.

Cortez-Martinez said her deportation has been a "heartbreaking" experience for her and her family.

"My husband, I've never seen him cry before. He was hopeless," she said. "I was very scared for my children's future."

Cortez-Martinez said she brought her two youngest children with her to Mexico because it would have been hard for her husband to take care of them alone due to his work schedule.

"My (hope) is that they cancel my deportation and I will be able to be with my husband and my older son," Cortez-Martinez added.

Tania Unzueta, policy director for the #Not1More campaign, spoke to the concerns among immigrant advocates about Cortez-Martinez's case.

"To us, this isn't just a case of one person being mistreated by border patrol," she said. "It really shows to us how agencies within the Department of Homeland Security are not being watched, are not transparent and are not being held accountable. I think her case raises a lot of questions about which agencies hold which agreements and which policies, and brings up larger questions about immigration enforcement and the policies in this country."

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) is among the local groups supporting Cortez-Martinez in her fight against deportation.

With President Barack Obama now in his last year in office, ICIRR's Lawrence Benito commented on the administration's handling of immigration issues.

"There was high hopes for this president, and in the absence of immigration reform, all we've seen is increased deportations more than any other president in history," Benito said. "He's got ten months left to show what he can do differently, but if things don't change, his legacy will be the deporter in chief."


NOTE & WARNING:  The links provided below contain direct quotes from Obama and his officials.

Obama gives free pass to businesses that hire illegals
Audits, fines drop for employers

"President Obama took office vowing to go after unscrupulous employers who hire illegal immigrants, but worksite audits have plunged over the last year and a half, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for Immigration Studies, tumbling along with the rest of immigration enforcement."

The Left-Leaning LA Times posted an article that shows that the Obama administration, the Illegal Alien lobby, and the major media outlets have been in collusion to depict the "high" deportation numbers.  The exact opposite is true since the beginning of the current President's policy.  Interior deportation has and will be lower than 1973 rates.  This is leading towards more people overstaying their visas and currently, more Illegal Alien minors crossing the border.  Obama has just recently instructed border patrol to not turn back those Illegal Aliens on record as having entered illegally as priors, but to let them pass IF they don't have a major criminal record.  After the first Illegal Entry, it is a felony each time thereafter.

Even Obama in 2011, called the deportation numbers deceptive when talking to Hispanic voters.  President Obama said statistics that show his administration is on track to deport more illegal immigrants than the Bush administration are misleading.

"The statistics are a little deceptive," he said Wednesday in an online discussion aimed at Hispanic voters."

"If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero -- it's just highly unlikely to happen," John Sandweg, until recently the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement





Immigration Reform 2015: Obama's Priority Enforcement Program Protects 87 Percent Of Undocumented Immigrants, Report Finds

"The refocus in law enforcement efforts has effectively protected 9.6 million of the United States' estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, the report found. In all, a full implementation of Obama's changes would reduce annual deportations to approximately 25,000..."

"The federal government's chief deportation agency has seen its success plummet under President Obama, and its chief, Sarah R. Saldana, will tell Congress on Tuesday that they've had trouble adapting to the changing face of illegal immigration and a lack of cooperation from both American cities and from foreign countries.

Ms. Saldana, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), says in testimony prepared for the House Judiciary Committee that the dramatic drop in deportations is a reflection of a trickier set of circumstances and pressures from all sides.

She said she had to pull agents off their regular duties during last summer's illegal immigrant surge at the border, which meant fewer people focusing on deporting the longtime illegal immigrants living in the interior of the U.S. And she said the lack of cooperation from states, counties and cities when agents ask them to hold an illegal immigrant for pickup has also hindered efforts."


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