DENVER (CBS4) – Calling it an “important victory,” the legal team representing Jeanette Vizguerra says she has been granted a stay of removal until 2019.
“After 86 days in sanctuary I received a call from the acting field office director of ICE in Colorado informing us that ICE headquarters had granted a stay of removal in Jeanette’s case until March 15, 2019, or until her private bill has been decided in the Senate,” said lawyer Hans Meyer.
“(The decision) allows Jeanette Vizguerra the fairness and due process she deserves to have her U visa case heard to finality.”
The Mexican immigrant 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.
For the past three months Vizguerra has defied her deportation order that stemmed from an arrest for a fake ID in 2009 by taking sanctuary in a Denver church, and members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation including Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Jared Polis are among the leaders who came to her defense.
Vizguerra said after leaving the church with a crowd of cheering supporters Friday morning that the timing is particularly poignant for her.
“It’s a special day for me because I will be able to celebrate Mother’s Day with my children and my grandchildren,” she said through a translator in a news conference. “It’s been three months — very difficult months — because even though I’ve been continuing my struggle from inside, I really miss my children.”
Last month, Time Magazine placed Vizguerra on their list of the most influential people in the world.
“I always said that my struggle is their struggle, and their struggle is my struggle, because we are a community. It doesn’t matter what race, color or country,” Vizguerra said.
Meyer described Vizguerra’s stand against deportation one of “unimaginable courage.”
“In this day and time to stand up for fundamental fairness and due process of law in our immigration system, she’s an example of what we believe are quintessential American values: courage, dedication to family, integrity,” he said.
Another undocumented parent who also took refuge in a Colorado church, Arturo Hernandez Garcia, was also granted a stay of deportation and spoke at the news conference after Vizguerra.
“I’m thankful for the community here, my family, my wife, the media, everyone that has followed me and been there for me,” he said.
Both Vizguerra and Garcia both said they will continue to fight to stay in this country and for the rights of others in similar situations to theirs.
“For all those parents — mothers and fathers,” Vizguerra said.