The long hand of President Donald Trump’s administration is trying to deport a Mexican beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who qualifies to renew his work permit and is unjustifiably held in a detention center in southern Minnesota, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Attorney Wally Hilke, of the law firm Beyond Legal Aid, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Chicago to have Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez, a resident of the West Elsdon neighborhood in the northern part of the city, released.
Lopez Gutierrez, 24, was returning from a field trip with his friends in May last year when he was intercepted near the town of Marshalltown, Iowa, and arrested.
Although Lopez Gutierrez explained to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities that he is a DACA beneficiary, he has not been released to date and now faces deportation proceedings.
The young immigrant obtained his work permit under Deferred Action in 2013 and although the document expired at the end of 2015, Gutierrez is still considered a “dreamer” and qualifies to renew his permit, which protects him from deportation.
Hilke hopes that with the federal lawsuit the authorities will recognize that they are making a mistake and unfairly targeting their client. “Under the same law and DACA policy, which is still the law of the land, Jesus must be immediately released,” Hilke told Efe on Wednesday.
The attorney stated that ICE does not want to admit that it made a mistake and is detaining this young immigrant without any justification.
“ICE is trying to hide its misconduct from the public. He says they followed all their rules when they decided not to release Jesus, but they don’t tell us which rule they applied,” he said.
Hilke believes that in this particular case “ICE is acting as if this agency is above the law and above public scrutiny”.
If the authorities let his client out and he applied to renew his work permit, Jesus would be protected from deportation since DACA still exists while he is in litigation in the Supreme Court.
López Gutiérrez’s next court date is February 21 and Hilke hopes that her client will be released.
“It is important that ICE adheres to the law of the land,” the attorney told Efe.
Miguel López Gutiérrez, Jesús’ older brother, told Efe that the family is hopeful that the young man will be released soon.
Miguel, 27, described his brother Jesús as “a very happy boy.
“In the family he makes the jokes. He likes to be in nature, and he likes to write and read a lot. He has started writing poetry in the center where he is now detained,” he added.