The Trump administration has refused to renew the DACA status of a prominent illegal immigrant “Dreamer,” saying she’s now a priority for deportation in a case that has become a key test of the Obama-era deportation amnesty and the new president’s handling of it.
In documents filed in court, Homeland Security officials said they are actively pursuing a deportation case against Jessica Colotl, and it would be inappropriate to continue her status under the 2012 DACA program at this point.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency handling DACA, said its decision is non-reviewable.
“USCIS determined, in its unreviewable discretion, that you did not warrant a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” an agency officer said in a final notice denying Ms. Colotl’s status.
Without DACA protections, Ms. Colotl cannot work legally in the U.S., will lose her driver’s license and some taxpayer benefits, and is supposed to leave — or she could face deportation.
Her protections run out at the end of the month, according to court documents.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has defended Ms. Colotl, said she is “eligible” for the program, but for the Trump administration’s decision to declare her a priority for deportation.
“Jessica’s case is an example of what happens when people’s lives are left to the whim of an immigration agent,” said ACLU lawyer Michael Tan. “That’s why we need Congress to pass a clean Dream Act now.”
The 28-year-old woman tangled with the Trump administration earlier this year when Homeland Security tried to revoke her permit in the middle of its validity, saying she’d given false information after a traffic incident, in what amounted to a felony charge.
The government later acknowledged there was no felony case but said she was a priority for deportation nonetheless.
A federal judge rejected those arguments and ordered the department to reinstate her status in June, saying Homeland Security hadn’t followed its own procedures in revoking her permit.
Homeland Security said in new filings Wednesday that it has now gone back and followed those procedures and concluded Ms. Colotl’s status cannot be continued.
Nearly 700,000 illegal immigrant Dreamers are currently protected by DACA, but the program is being phased out by the Trump administration, and no new or renewal applications are being accepted anymore.
Current permits are good until they expire, but Mr. Trump has said it’s up to Congress to find a permanent solution.
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