AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– An immigration court judge has ordered that Rene Lima-Marin be released from custody.
Lima-Marin came to the U.S. as a toddler as part of the 1980 Mariel boat lift from Cuba and had legal residency until it was revoked following his 2000 criminal conviction.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.
The nightmare is still real for Jason Kasperek, who was in the Aurora video store when it was robbed at gunpoint. He believes Lima-Marin is getting a chance at freedom he doesn’t deserve.
“Are we going to do this with everybody now?,” said Kasperek.
Despite the gubernatorial pardon, ICE continues its campaign to deport Lima-Marin. He remains in ICE custody.
Lima-Marin’s attorney, Aaron Elinoff, told CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger that the judge ordered him released from ICE custody. The government can appeal this ruling but it’s unclear whether that will happen.
“If he walks out of ICE custody, if he walks free, that puts the whole thing to bed. That is him waking up from this nightmare,” said Elinoff.
When asked how Lima-Marin reacted to the news, Elinoff said, “Excitement, confused, loss for words. He said ‘What does this mean?'”
Lima-Marin’s family maintains high hopes.
“Every single day the kids are still asking what’s going on and when are we going to hear something…and its like, just be patient,” said Lima-Marin’s wife, Jasmine.
If an appeal is filed, Lima-Marin’s attorney has indicated he plans to ask for his client’s release pending the outcome of the appeal.
It is unclear when Lima-Marin will be released from ICE custody.