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ICE refuses to halt deportation of immigrant who could qualify for relief

Tucson, Arizona, Nov 26 (EFE).- Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities in Arizona on Wednesday denied the request of a Mexican to halt his deportation proceedings, despite the fact that he could be one of those who would benefit from President Barack Obama’s executive action giving relief to millions of undocumented foreigners.

Francisco Perez Cordova, the father of five U.S.-born childen and husband of a woman who benefits from Deferred Action, will not be able to leave the church where he has been given refuge for more than 60 days to prevent a deportation order from being carried out against him.

“I feel content because the day is approaching when I’m going to leave, but at the same time I feel sad because the person in authority who must decide my case is not doing so, although it would take him no time at all,” Perez Cordova told Efe on Wednesday.

He added that he has been in the church for 64 days and has not been able to work, and it pains him when his children ask how long they are going to be separated.

Despite the fact that Perez Cordova could be a beneficiary of the immigration relief provided by the president’s order last week, local ICE officials informed his lawyer that they have not received any directive from the Homeland Security Department to grant suspensions of deportations proceedings for possible beneficiaries.

However, Perez Cordova’s attorney Margo Cowan displayed the memorandum sent by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to ICE directors, the Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Border Patrol in which he instructs ICE and Customs and Border Protection officials to “immediately” begin identifying people in their custody, and newly-encountered people, who meet the requirements and may be eligible for deferred action to prevent future deportations.

“We’re asking for a document, a letter that approves the request to halt the deportation, for them to close the case, something in writing so that Francisco may leave (the church) with proof that his deportation order is no longer in effect,” Cowan told Efe.

She said that this reveals a serious risk for hundreds of immigrants who have not sought sanctuary and have deportation proceedings pending against them because if immigration authorities in Arizona are not following the DHS directives these undocumented foreigners could be detained and deported.

ICE spokesperson Lori Haley told Efe that “as always, decisions on discretionary proceedings must be handled on a case by case basis based on the case itself and an exhaustive review of the specific facts.”

Perez was granted sanctuary at the United Methodist Church in Foothills on Sept. 25 after lived for almost a year in fear of being deported.

His difficult immigration system began in 2009 after his family were the victims of a crime they reported to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

According to Perez, instead of investigating the crime against his family, sheriff’s deputies reported him and his brother-in-law to the Border Patrol. For three years, Perez fought his case in court, but bad advice by his counsel left him on the verge of being deported.