By Melissa Garcia
DENVER (CBS4) – Local leaders are rallying behind a mother, also an undocumented immigrant, and asking Gov. John Hickenlooper for a pardon.
Ingrid Latorre, an undocumented immigrant from Peru, was arrested in 2010 on charges of using false documents. She later pleaded guilty under the advice of her attorney, without knowing that the crime would affect her immigration status.
An immigrant advocate announced Thursday that a Jefferson County district court judge denied an appeal on Latorre’s conviction.
With her stay of removal expiring on Sept. 15, immigration officers could deport Latorre in little more than two weeks.
Latorre, who took refuge inside a church for six months to avoid deportation, is asking Hickenlooper to absolve her of her conviction of using false documents. Latorre said she needed the documents to work.
“To have the need to work to support your family should never be a crime in this country,” said Sen. Dominick Moreno, a Democrat representing Adams County.
Latorre said that if Hickenlooper denies her request for a pardon, she would have no other option but to return to Peru.
“Don’t separate me from my children,” Latorre said through an interpreter during Thursday’s announcement.
The mother, who has lived half her life in Colorado, said that leaving the country would break up her family.
Both of her sons, ages 8 and 1, are U.S. citizens.
“We have a broken immigration system,” said Rep. Faith Winter, a Democrat representing Adams County.
A pardon would allow Latorre to reopen her case in immigration court without the weight of her prior conviction.
Latorre has served more than four years of probation for the conviction and has paid more than $11,000 in court costs.
“She’s been a responsible community member,” Winter told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “I think if you’ve done what’s asked of you, you should have a path forward in this country.”
A spokesperson said that Hickenlooper had received the pardon application and was in the process of reviewing it. There was no timeline on a decision.
Supporters, including another immigrant, Jeanette Vizguerra, vowed to fast outside of the state capitol until the governor grants Latorre a pardon.