A Peruvian undocumented immigrant who has been sheltering in Colorado churches for the past few years to avoid being deported was one of five people pardoned by Gov. Jared Polis this week.
Ingrid Encalada LaTorre, who was 17 when she came to this country in 2000, has been dodging ICE since her 2010 felony conviction for criminal impersonation — using a false Social Security number to gain employment — a stolen number that she bought.
It’s not clear whether this means LaTorre can leave the church, since she is still not a legal resident. But it removes the obstacle of a felony conviction, which is expunged from her record, according to CNN.
“I’m so happy,” Latorre told supporters Tuesday after receiving the letter, according to the Longmont Times-Call. “All I wanted was to go home to be with my family and be with my children, and now we’ve made it, we’ve triumphed. But the fight continues.”
The fight now is that, even though the conviction is out of the way, it’s still not clear whether U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will nullify her deportation order. That was issued by a federal immigration judge after she was a no-show at two check-in appointments, the Times-Call reported.
Until that is clearer, LaTorre will continue to live at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, where she has resided since 2017. The 36-year-old went so far as to give birth in the rec room there in September, according to The Daily Beast. Her husband lives in an apartment nearby, according to the Times-Call.
“I want to make sure I have all of my T’s crossed and I’s dotted and make sure that I follow the process correctly,” she told the Times-Call. “But I am looking forward to going home one day soon.”
LaTorre had bought fake documents in 2002, according to CNN, which enabled her to get a job at an assisted-living center. In 2010 she was arrested for using a false identity and nonpayment of taxes, CNN recounted. Pleading guilty to a felony kept her out of jail, and she paid the $12,000 she owed the IRS. But the felony conviction put her in danger of deportation.
There are a number of undocumented immigrants living in churches around the U.S., most of them mothers refusing to be separated from their children.
At least one of them resides in a church in New York City.
LaTorre founded No Mas Chuecos, an organization dedicated to educating undocumented immigrants as to the harm they cause when they buy an ID — which is often stolen — and the deportation danger that it puts them in, to boot.
“Personal identification credentials, sold as ‘fake IDs,’ or chuecos, are often not fake at all,” reads the website’s motto. “Buying a chueca on the street increases your vulnerability to deportation.”
Polis said that work was crucial to his granting her the pardon, and expressed the wish to see her continue in her work.
“Not everyone earns the privilege of a second chance,” Polis wrote in LaTorre’s pardon letter. “But you have demonstrated that you deserve one. I hope you will make the most of this opportunity and treat your obligations seriously.”
Gov. Polis has had nothing to say about the 6 times deported illegal alien who killed a grandmother on Denver streets earlier this month. Mexican driver, 42, previously deported SIX TIMES, is arrested in fatal hit-and-run of Denver grandmother Perhaps, Juan Sanchez will be next on this Democrat’s list of pardons. US media, including most Denver media, has chosen to ignore this woman’s death. Covering for their governor?
Also fighting for LaTorre to be able to stay is U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat representing Fort Collins, Boulder and mountain towns. He is advocating for LaTorre at the federal level, according to The Coloradoan. He authored a private bill attempting to obtain permanent residential status for her, calling LaTorre and her children “an integral part of our community in Boulder County” and noting that she “has worked diligently to educate those around her about Social Security theft and ensure her case is not repeated.”
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