Jeanette Vizguerra was supposed to be deported from Colorado Friday after living, working and raising kids in the United States for two decades, but instead, as Erica Meltzer of Denverite reported Thursday, U.S, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has granted the undocumented resident a two-year stay.
Arturo Hernandez, another Mexican citizen living in Denver without documentation, will be free to make a case to stay until March 15, 2019, as well.
Hernandez has been held in an ICE detention facility but will now be able to attend his daughter’s graduation, advocates said. Vizguerra has been living in sanctuary in the basement of Denver’s First Unitarian Society Church since February.
A labor union activist, Vizguerra particularly has become an immigration championed nationwide by activists and Democrats to push back against President Trump’s immigration-enforcement crackdown.
They stress that such public policy destroys families. Vizguerra has four children, three of whom are American-born and younger than 12.
“Our system is tearing many other families apart,” Vizguerra said in a statement from the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition. “I will continue to lead the fight to keep families together, to grow the capacity of sanctuary and of my community to resist deportation and exploitation.”
State Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, has championed the pushback on Trump’s immigration policies and was elated about the turn of events. Salazar is a candidate for Colorado attorney general next year.
“I am very happy about the decision to return Jeanette to her family,” he said Friday morning, reached by text message. “Above all else, we are a nation of compassion. Jeanette and her family deserve our support.”
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver said in a statement of the two undocumented Coloradans, “I am pleased to hear that Jeanette and Arturo have been granted temporary stays. We have been working closely with them on their cases—coordinating with their lawyers, and we introduced private bills for each in the Senate.
“These Coloradans have lived in our state for years, contributed to our economy, and should never have been targets for deportation in the first place. While I’m glad the stays will give Jeanette and Arturo more time to receive due process, this is also a reminder that there are many more families like theirs across the country experiencing similar fear and uncertainty. We must continue fighting for policies that keep families together and fix our broken immigration system.”
Editor’s note: Colorado Politics is trying to reach opponents of the immigration stay for comment. This blog will be updated if they choose to weigh in.