By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Congressman Jared Polis says a rogue immigration agent is breaking agency protocol to deport a Denver woman.
Jeanette Vizguerra entered the country illegally 20 years ago, has three American born children and was awaiting a visa that would give her a path to legal status when Polis says Immigration and Customs did something unprecedented.
“The normal custom is ICE defers deportation during the processing time… and yet there’s a rogue ICE agent who has broken with the protocol of ICE, broken with what the agency normally does, and has refused to grant Jeanette a deferral of her deportation order.”
Vizguerra took refuge inside a Denver church, where federal agents won’t go. ICE says it’s granted Vizguerra six deferrals since she was convicted of using a fake social security card in 2009, but she suggests her deportation is in retaliation for speaking out.
“I push very strong for my community. I push my case. He is very angry for my person pushing everybody.”
Polis says he is now escalating the case.
He says under President Trump’s guidance Vizguerra should be a low priority for deportation.
He’s filed a bill to give her permanent legal status, wrote a letter to Homeland Security and is lobbying top ICE officials, “I’ve had discussions with some of the higher ups at the agency in D.C. and I’m trying to get them to exert their authority.”
Vizguerra says she will stay at the church for years if necessary but won’t stay quiet, “I continue to change the system. My family need me. I need my kids.”
Polis does not think the Trump administration is involved in Vizguerra’s deportation, but he says it is a test case for how the new administration plans to enforce immigration law.
“We absolutely need to be wary of the new role of the agency – ICE – in the Trump era and frankly I worry they’ll move away their focus away from keeping our communities safe and deporting criminals to deporting otherwise normally law abiding citizens like Jeannette.”
A spokesman for ICE told me he wasn’t able to comment on Polis’s allegations.