A federal immigration agency has reversed its denial of a deferred action renewal request for an undocumented Chicago woman and activist.
Nadia Sol Ireri Unzueta Carrasco is an organizer with the Chicago-based Organized Communities Against Deportations.
She is from Mexico City and came to the U.S. at the age of six. In 2013, Unzueta Carrasco was granted a two-year protection against deportation under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied Unzueta Carrasco’s application to renew her DACA status in August 2015, citing “public safety concerns” with her case due to her participation in civil disobedience actions between 2009 and 2013. As a Chicago-based organizer, Unzueta Carrascohas has engaged in numerous protests over U.S. immigration policy.
Unzueta Carrasco sued USCIS over her DACA denial. She announced Monday that USCIS has renewed her DACA status.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we need to continue speaking up, organizing and participating in civil disobedience. And when there is a backlash against our work, our tactics, our community members, we have come together to defend them. It’s part of our responsibility to our community and to future generations,” Unzueta Carrasco said in a statement.
“When I first got the letter of denial two years ago, it said that the decision could not be appealed, like all DACA denial letters do. When USCIS e-mailed us, they said the decision had been reviewed and that it was not a mistake. When we filed the lawsuit, USCIS insisted that it was within their right to deny my DACA. As members of communities whose lives are so often in the hands of powerful government institutions like USCIS, this victory teaches us that organizing works.”
“Lizbeth’s case is a clear example when USCIS could use their discretion in a positive manner, instead of insisting that she does not meet the criteria,” added Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Unzueta Carrasco’s immigration attorney and executive director at PASO – West Suburban Action Project. “Eligibility factors for DACA and prosecutorial discretion are not laws or regulations, they are only guidelines. USCIS and ICE must use their discretion in case-by-case determinations to approve cases based on the all the circumstances and not just on individual factors that do not tell the true story of the individuals before them.”
Read Progress Illinois’ past coverage of Unzueta Carrasco’s case here.