Trump Administration Denies Young Dreamer Jessica Colotl’s DACA Renewal Request
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration rejected a young Dreamers request that it restore her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status today. The Department of Homeland Security suddenly and arbitrarily denied Jessica Colotl’s DACA status earlier this year, even though it had granted her DACA twice previously and her circumstances remained unchanged.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Georgia, and Kuck Immigration Partners LLC took legal action back in May to restore Colotl’s DACA protections after the government denied her renewal request. A federal judge reinstated Colotl’s DACA and ordered that the government review her case under the DACA program’s rules and procedures. However, the Trump Administration denied her DACA renewal application even though she remains eligible for the program.
“The Trump administration has denied Jessica’s renewal application because it’s arbitrarily decided to tag her as a priority for deportation. That flies in the face of the administration’s repeated statements that Dreamers are not targets for deportation while the DACA program remains in place and can rest easy while Congress comes up a legislative solution,” said ACLU staff attorney Michael Tan. “Jessica’ s case is an example of what happens when people’s lives are left to the whim of an immigration agent. That’s why we need Congress to pass a clean Dream Act now.”
Without DACA status, Colotl cannot legally work or live in the United States. Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “Despite President Trump’s false reassurances, we are already seeing DACA recipients like Jessica facing renewed threats and targeting. Jessica is one of many reminders about the urgency for Congress to act now to resolve Dreamers’ status. This harm is not set to begin after March 6th when DACA will begin to phase out — it’s already on display now for Jessica and tens of thousands of other young immigrants. Congress needs to enact a permanent solution before the end of the year and it cannot put at risk Dreamers’ families and friends.”
Colotl, a resident of Georgia, is a 28-year-old citizen of Mexico who has lived in the United States since she moved here in 1999 when she was 11 years old. She graduated from Lakeside High School in DeKalb County, Georgia, in May 2006, with honors. She then attended Kennesaw State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2011. In college, Colotl excelled academically and was named to the President’s List. She was also actively involved in the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Mexican American Student Alliance, and helped found the Epsilon Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha, a sorority.
Since graduating, Colotl has worked as a paralegal at Kuck Immigration Partners LLC and aspired to attend law school to become an immigration lawyer. She also has continued to serve the community, volunteering for the Annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference, donating platelets at the Northside Hospital in Atlanta, and fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. She is also a member of Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Norcross, Georgia, and a passionate advocate for immigrants’ rights and immigration reform.
In addition to Colotl’s case, Jesús Arreola and other DACA recipients have been wrongfully targeted by the government. The ACLU is challenging the government’s unlawful DACA revocation practices as part of a nationwide class action lawsuit. Additionally, around a dozen of DACA recipients were detained at a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in September under reported guidelines of stricter screening and targeting practices.
If Congress does not enact the Dream Act for young immigrants, 1,400 Dreamers per day will lose their work authorization and will be potentially exposed to deportation once individuals’ DACA status begins to expire next year.
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