Show of support made for undocumented immigrant in Hartford ICE custody

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HARTFORD — A group of people will be gathering at ICE’s office in Hartford to show support for Mynor Espinoza, an undocumented immigrant who is scheduled to have a bond hearing Wednesday.

Espinoza came to America illegally from Guatemala in 2009 and was detained, but later that year, came back successfully. He was working as a mason and living in West Haven with his wife and four children, three of whom are U.S. citizens, when he was arrested in June.

According to our media partners at The Hartford Courant, Espinoza’s lawyer says he was arrested after ICE officials used his child as bait to get him into custody.

Espinoza’s undocumented child was picked up a year ago after coming to the U.S. unaccompanied. The child was released after Espinoza promised to attend immigration hearings, and cooperate with ICE officials. Espinoza’s lawyer says he was told to go to ICE’s office in Hartford to sign papers for his son, and that’s when he was arrested.

Espinoza is currently being detained in a facility in Massachusetts. His supporters say they hope he will be released, and that they can bring awareness to how they think ICE is detaining undocumented immigrants.

Recently, another undocumented immigrant case involving Marco Reyes-Alvarez who sought refuge inside a New Haven church to avoid deportation. Shawn Neudauer, ICE spokesman of New England issued the following statement in regards to Reyes-Alvarez:

On Aug. 8, Marco Reyes-Alvarez, a citizen of Ecuador illegally present in the United States, was scheduled to meet ICE deportation officers with the agency’s Hartford, Connecticut office, to verify his compliance with a removal order issued by a federal immigration judge in 2009. Reyes failed to appear and has since taken refuge in a church in New Haven, indicating he does not intend to comply with the court’s order. Reyes is now considered an ICE fugitive and will be arrested and detained when encountered. At which time, ICE will remove him from the United States.

In 2010, Reyes previously filed petitions to reopen his case and requested a stay of removal from the Board of Immigration Appeals and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both were ultimately denied. He requested another stay of removal from ICE in 2016, which was granted while he pursued additional legal options in his case. After he exhausted those options, ICE notified him that the agency planned to carry out his removal order. Last week, he again petitioned the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen his case and requested another stay of removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals denied the stay of removal, allowing ICE to proceed with the case.

On May 5, 2017, ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan notified the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees that ICE will no longer automatically grant a stay of removal for an alien based on private immigration bills introduced by Members of Congress — unless the Chair of the full Committee or Subcommittee makes a written request to ICE to stay the alien’s removal.

This policy became effective May 5, 2017. Those aliens for whom an investigative report had been requested prior to May 5, 2017, will be processed under the old policy and granted an automatic stay of removal until March 15, 2019. Formal correspondence documenting this update is forthcoming. ICE is currently working to fulfill all requests for investigative reports received in conjunction with private immigration relief legislation introduced in the 115th Congress. This “grandfathering” of the private immigration bill policy affects 30 aliens whose private bills were processed before May 5.

A federal immigration judge’s orders cannot be ignored. ICE and the courts can delay acting on an order to ensure all applicable legal processes and possible benefits are followed and/or reviewed, which occurred in this case. However, after these legal options are exhausted, ICE must still carry out the judge’s order in the absence of any other mitigating factors.