A federal judge in Atlanta ruled in favor of a Georgia immigrant Monday, ordering the federal government to reinstate her temporary protection from deportation.
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Last month, federal immigration officials stripped Jessica Colotl, 29, of her protection under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program for young people brought into the country illegally as children.
In Monday’s order, U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen wrote that lawyers for the federal government were “unable to provide the Court the actual reason for the decisions to terminate Plaintiff’s DACA status and deny her renewal application.”
Colotl, who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 11, said she’s relieved by the judge’s ruling for herself, and for other young people brought into the country illegally as children who are often referred to as “dreamers.”
“It makes me happy to know that there is hope for many dreamers out there and that we can continue fighting together so we can live in the country that we’ve called home for so many years,” she said.
The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the judge’s ruling.
The judge ordered the government to review its decision to terminate Colotl’s DACA status as well as her application to renew DACA.
At the time her status was revoked, a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said last month that Colotl had made a false statement to law enforcement in 2011, which counted as a felony conviction for immigration purposes. Colotl had entered a pretrial diversion program and her charges were later dropped.
In court filings, lawyers for the federal government then said the incident did not count as a felony conviction.
Colotl’s laywer, Charles Kuck, said he believes the case will affect other DACA cases.
“I believe this case actually sets the standard for [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services] going forward in, one, following its own rules, but also ensuring that other DACA recipients who may be treated unjustly like Jessica won’t be afraid to go to court and to exercise their rights under the law,” Kuck said.
Colotl, who works in Kuck’s office as a paralegal, said she’s looking forward to going back to work, since DACA gives her authorization to work.
“I’m so thankful that I’m getting my work permit back and, essentially, getting my life back to being normal,” Colotl said.