DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. John Hickenlooper denied the pardon for a Peruvian mother who had taken sanctuary in a church in Denver while highlighting the need for federal immigration reform.
Ingrid Encalada Latorre is from Peru and moved to Colorado in 2000. She has two children who were born in the United States.
She was arrested in 2010 for using false documents to get a job in 2002. She claims she didn’t know the paperwork was stolen.
At the advice of her attorney at that time, she pleaded guilty to the felony charge. That alerted Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to her.
Last fall, Latorre took refuge inside a church in Denver. Latorre was granted a temporary stay of deportation in May that would allow her to leave that church without fear of detention while proceeding with her case.
Hickenlooper released this statement on Thursday afternoon: “Occasionally, a governor is faced with a decision with an answer that is clear but still painful. After careful review and with a heavy heart, I have decided to deny Ingrid Encalada LaTorre’s application for clemency. I did not come to this decision lightly. I spoke with her personally, and members of my team met with her and her attorney at length to ensure we had a full account of her case. I am moved by Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s dream of being an American and her extraordinarily hard work to support her family while she was here.
“At the same time, I must consider the impact of Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s crime on the victim, and most importantly, the precedent clemency would establish. Our country desperately needs comprehensive immigration reform that creates pathways for aspiring Americans like Ms. Encalada LaTorre to become productive, law-abiding citizens. But the crime that Ms. Encalada LaTorre committed was not victimless – far from it. Granting Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s application would compound the injustice of this unfortunate situation, and it would be a step backward in the fight for smart, compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform.
“The victim of this crime spent years dealing with the unlawful use of her Social Security number, suffering significant tax consequences and nearly losing government benefits she needed to support her own family. She opposes clemency for Ms. Encalada LaTorre. The victim is like thousands of others in this country who, through no fault of their own, face long-term consequences when someone commits this type of crime.
“Make no mistake: I disagree with many of the harsh immigration positions taken by the Trump administration, such as deporting law-abiding immigrants and ending DACA. Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s case, however, was handled consistently with practices in place since the Obama administration. Her crime rendered her ineligible for Cancellation of Removal under federal statute.
“I sympathize with Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s difficult circumstances and deeply regret the hardship she and her family may experience. But clemency is the wrong approach to fixing our broken immigration system. It cannot, on its own, stop the deportation process. It is up to Congress to respond, and I will continue to propose solutions and pressure Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.”