Immigration: About 15 percent of Denver case subjects allowed to stay in U.S. after review

Categories: Immigration, News

Gerardo cropped.jpg
Gerardo Noriega.
Preliminary numbers show that about 15 percent of the 7,923 immigrants whose cases were reviewed as part of a Department of Homeland Security pilot project in Denver will be allowed to stay in the country, says Laura Lichter, the president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Those include local student Gerardo Noriega, but not Sujey Pando, who is still waiting, along with her wife, to hear the outcome of her case.

"We are still sitting on the edge of our seats," says Violeta Pando. She and Sujey married in Iowa in 2010, but their union is not federally recognized.

On a conference call today, Lichter and others, including Julie Gonzales, the political director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said they're encouraged by the government's efforts to review a total of about 13,000 immigration cases in Denver and Baltimore with the goal of closing those deemed low-priority. The feds have said that the pilot project, which took place over six weeks and ended on January 13, was a test run for a more comprehensive review of all 300,000 pending deportation cases nationwide.

But the lawyers and advocates also said they're frustrated by what they see as the shortcomings of the plan. For instance, the immigrants whose cases are closed won't be offered legal status or permission to work. "Nobody is walking out of this with a green card or anything of the sort," says Lichter, a Denver attorney. Instead, she says, their status is simply put on hold. "Their case is basically frozen," she explains.

That's the position 21-year-old Noriega, featured in a New York Times story on the subject, finds himself in. Though his deportation has been stopped, he's not sure whether he'll be able to go to college to study automotive engineering, which is his dream.

"I kind of feel frustrated but at the same time, hopeful that if they granted me administrative closure, maybe they'll grant me a temporary work permit," Noriega told Westword in December, when he heard that his case had been closed as part of the review. "They pretty much just told me to wait until they tell me something else."

Not all immigrants whose cases were reviewed in the pilot by Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys in Denver have been notified of the attorneys' decisions, Lichter says. After a decision is made, the immigrant must also pass a background check, which takes time. Lichter says she hopes the process will be finished within thirty days.

She and others also hope ICE attorneys continue to practice prosecutorial discretion in cases such as those of young immigrants hoping to go to college and those of immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens and have citizen children. This past June, ICE director John Morton wrote a memo instructing attorneys to do just that. Then, in August, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the feds would conduct a case-by-case review of 300,000 deportation cases. The ultimate goal, she said, would be to focus on deporting serious criminals -- not law-abiding members of society.

Gonzales says the government needs to do more to educate the immigrant community about prosecutorial discretion. "Because the Department of Homeland Security was so obtuse about how the program was going to work, that left people with tons of questions," she says. Immigrants need to know what type of documentation they should provide for their case review, she says, such as high school transcripts, proof of family members' citizenship and letters describing how they've contributed to American society.

"The immigrant community is looking for solutions," Gonzales says. " We want to make sure this tool (of prosecutorial discretion) is utilized to its full impact, but we all agree that at the end of the day, what we need is comprehensive immigration reform."

More from our Immigration archive: "Colorado Democrats commend Obama's 'smarter immigration policy.'"

Like Melanie Asmar on Facebook!

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

The ultimate goal, she said, would be to focus on deporting serious criminals -- not law-abiding members of society.  Sooooo, illegal invaders are considered law abiding members of society, provided they arent real criminals? Yea, that makes a hell of a lotta sense...Nonsense!

Dave Francis
Dave Francis


It just goes to show that as illegal aliens flee Alabama,the unemployment rate is dropping for American labor--as according to severalreports? Enforcement policing protocols are having the desired effect, whichproves that state immigration laws do work if practiced and not neglected.  My guess is that although I have not heard ofany similar hiring statistics in Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and even Utah,but it wouldn’t surprise me if this news hasn’t been suppressed by the newspapersand the central government. It will be very interesting to learn if promisesare kept by the 4 remaining presidential personages. Even Gingrich’s agenda togive the long time illegal aliens some form of pardon, without citizenshipwhereas, I hate to think of a returned President Obama has in-store for theUnited States. Whatever his idea of enforcing immigration laws are, it willjust attract even more impoverished and criminals to arrive via our almostunprotected border or by international jet.


Who can we really trust to build the true parallel fencesacross the width of our nation? The establishment GOP capitalist will alwaysdemand cut price labor, with the Democrats hoping that by turning a blind eye,illegal aliens will vote in all elections—leading up to the grand finale in2012? Most farmers are not innocent in procuring cheap labor, knowing that thetaxpayers will be the payee for the health care and the children’s education ofunlawful workers. Politicians ignore the huge billion dollar costs for illegalfamily settlement, that these are court appointed unfunded mandates which hasbeen a fiscal anchor around the necks of the U.S. populace.  Does Gingrich, Romney, Santorum or even Paul recognizethe financial impact on all 50 states? Welfare benefits have slowed to Americancitizens, especially in Sanctuary States as California, Nevada and others,because of the financial support to people who have contempt for our laws.


To restrain President Obama andhis Liberal progressive Czars as Eric Holder, the only avenue is to electstrict TEA PARTY Constitutionalists in oncoming federal and stateelections.  There are two points to remember that entering the UnitedStates has been intentionally classed by Congress as a civil matter? That it isnot classified as a Felony; as it should be? Although being hired for a job orusing a stolen ID or another person’s Social Security card can beprosecuted as a felony, as they have committed two crimes.   The TeaParty will rescind any covert amnesties, sanctuary city ordinances, chainmigration, dream act. The Tea Party are determined to build the 2006 SecureFences (ACT) and additionally overhaul federal spending.  Become acquainted NumbersUSA and learn aboutthe billions of dollars taken from taxpayers in unfunded mandates by panderingto illegal aliens.


This is labeled as a “BackdoorAmnesty.” Washington must enact ‘The Legal Workforce Act ‘Known more commonlyas Mandated E-Verify. Plus “The Birthright Citizenship Act” to stop theinducement of bringing unborn infants into the country, that provides freewelfare, education and health care. WE THE PEOPLE’S Constitution is under siegeby the resident government and must be stopped, when they are allowing illegalaliens back on the streets. BE WARNED THAT NON-CITIZENS HAVE BEEN VOTING ANDCERTAINLY WILL AGAIN IN FUTURE ELECTIONS. Every voter should possess officialpicture ID to vote? The TEA PARTY does not alienate any race or nationality asthe Liberal media would like you to think. It just requests the 1986Immigration law (IRCA) enforced and not altered to pander to illegal migrantsand immigrants.


And the pandering continues....


Interesting that yet one more IILW attorney in PA was sentenced to 5 years for selling green cards to illegals.  Check out how many of these corrupted attorneys, who use illegal aliens as their cash cows, have been sentenced within the past 3 years.

I would not be celebrating if I were an illegal alien.  There is a massive movement afoot by law abiding citizens demanding (not asking!) Congress honor their oaths of office, our laws, and the Constitution and exercise their power to place a "cease and desist" on Obama, Holder, Napolitano, Morton, and Perez and their unconstitutional and illegal actions in an attempt to appease LaRaza and the Obama administration conspiring with foreign governments.


 Not deporting equals a defacto amnesty.  The administration is circumventing the legislative process to achieve virtual open borders by letting everyone know that as long as you are not an axe murderer, you can sneak into the US and work illegally, and everyone will look the other way.

We must get Obama out of office so that we can have some immigration law enforcement.  Any politician who does not push for mandatory E-Verify to check all jobs in the US, current and future, is not serious about stopping illegal immigration.  40% of people in the country entered legally, then overstayed, so don't let the border be a distraction from what works:  broad, mandatory worksite enforcement using E-Verify.

Dave Francis
Dave Francis

To stop President Obama and hisLiberal progressive Czars as Eric Holder, the only avenue is to elect strictTEA PARTY Constitutionalists in oncoming federal and state elections.  Thereare two points to remember that entering the United States has beenintentionally classed by Congress as a civil matter? That it is not classified asa Felony; as it should be? Although being hired for a job or using a stolen IDor another person’s Social Security card can be prosecuted as a felony, asthey have committed two crimes.   The Tea Party will rescind anycovert amnesties, sanctuary city ordinances, chain migration, dream act, andadditionally overhaul federal spending. Become acquainted NumbersUSA and learn about the billions of dollarstaken from taxpayers in unfunded mandates by pandering to illegal aliens. Thisis labeled as a “Backdoor Amnesty.” WE THE PEOPLE’S Constitution is under siegeby the resident government and must be stopped, when they are allowing illegalaliens back on the streets. BE WARNED THAT NON-CITIZENS HAVE BEEN VOTING ANDCERTAINLY WILL AGAIN IN FUTURE ELECTIONS.


BECOME PRO-ACTIVE: one small step at a time: a phone call, an email, a fax Arizona lawmaker, Sen. Steve Gallardo D-Phoenix, proposes repealing SB1070 Gallardo Phone (602) 926-3392 Fax (602) 417-3013Member Page Mexico #teaparty #tcot #tlot #AARP #MADD #NM #TX #AZ #CAJoin Us In Protesting Against Illegals Receiving New Mexico Driver's Licenses New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe @ 10 AM om Tuesday, Jan. 24. at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Old Santa Fe Trail.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault