DENVER (CBS4)– A Cuban immigrant slated for deportation despite a pardon from Colorado’s governor for his previous crimes, has won the reopening of his immigration case.
This is the latest development in the saga of Rene Lima-Marin, who was pardoned by Gov. John Hickenlooper for an armed robbery he committed 19 years ago. Before that, a judge ruled that he should no longer be imprisoned.
Lima-Marin, 38, came to the U.S. as a toddler as part of the 1980 Mariel boat lift from Cuba and had legal residency until it was revoked following his 2000 criminal conviction. Lima-Marin was sentenced to 98 years in prison for the robbery. But he was mistakenly paroled from Colorado state prison in 2008.
Lima-Marin married, had a child and got a steady job installing glass before state authorities realized their mistake in 2014 and sent him back for the remainder of his 98-year prison sentence.
A Colorado judge ordered Lima-Marin released from state prison in May, saying it would be “draconian” to keep him incarcerated. But before he could return to his family, immigration authorities picked him up, citing a still-active deportation order from 2000. His lawyers said a pardon was his only chance to stave off deportation.
Despite the gubernatorial pardon, ICE continues its campaign to deport Lima-Marin. On July 31, the Immigration Court granted his motion to reopen his case and withdrew his prior order of removal.
“Under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security has exhibited a shocking level of arrogance and brutality. ICE’s lawyers fought tooth and nail to deny his Motion to Reopen in this case. They continue to try and tear Rene’s family apart, subvert the unconditional pardon by Governor Hickenlooper, and ignore the will of the entire Colorado state legislature, numerous faith leaders, and over 285,000 community members who signed petitions on his behalf. Thankfully, justice prevailed in the most critical step of Rene’s case, with the immigration court granting our motion to reopen and cancel his prior deportation. But ICE lawyers continue to abuse their power, and, instead of releasing Rene to his family, is trying again trying to deport Rene for pardoned crimes that took place nearly twenty years ago. Today, we achieve a significant victory in a hard-fought battle, and while the war to keep Rene here with his family is not yet over, we are on the right side of history,” said Lima-Marin’s attorney Hans Meyer, in a statement.