For the second time in six months, a federal judge in Atlanta has issued an order preserving the immigration status of Jessica Colotl, the Kennesaw State University graduate whose 2010 arrest sparked a national debate over undocumented immigrants attending public college.

Colotl, a Mexican national who was brought to the United States as an 11-year-old, was arrested for driving without a license while studying at KSU. Her charges spurred deportation proceedings against her.

In June 2012, the Obama administration introduced a new federal immigration policy dubbed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which sought to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, like Colotl, from deportation. The program offers undocumented immigrants a renewable two-year period of deferment from deportation while allowing them to continue working legally.

But the two-year work permit Colotl needs to work and live in the country has twice been denied.

An injunction signed last week by U.S. District Court Judge Mark Cohen calls for the 28-year-old’s DACA status and employment authorization status to remain in place — at least temporarily.

The order comes just months after Cohen issued a first injunction maintaining Colotl’s legal immigration status and ordering federal immigration agencies to revisit her DACA renewal application. The June filing maintains the agencies didn’t follow their own protocol when Colotl’s latest application was denied and her work permit was suspended in May.

“Despite the fact that Ms. Colotl’s circumstances had not changed during the four years she was a DACA recipient, (Department of Homeland Security) suddenly terminated Ms. Colotl’s DACA and denied her application for renewal on the grounds that she did not meet the program’s eligibility criteria,” the federal filing reads.

Cohen temporarily renewed Colotl’s DACA status and set a Nov. 9 hearing in her case.

Jerry Gonzalez, director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, praised the judge’s move as the right one.

“It goes to show the Trump administration is not following appropriate protocol and it was enough for the judge to rule in favor of Jessica and keep her here,” he said Tuesday.

In September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration would rescind DACA. The president gave Congress six months to address the issue and come up with a plan for immigration reform. But the announcement that DACA would end caused concern among the nearly 800,000 people who rely on the program to stay in the country legally.

Among them is Dayana Salinas, a 30-year-old Smyrna resident who graduated from Osborne High School.

Salinas was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when she was just 5. Now, she relies on DACA to live and work in the U.S. alongside her friends and family members. Her work permit expired shortly after Sessions’ said the administration would end DACA, but Salinas said her documents have since been renewed another two years.

“I was worried because all my documents were going to expire that weekend,” she said. “Everything is set to expire again in two years, but I’m still kind of confused as to what’s going to happen in the next six months. I’m happy and I’m thankful, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen next.”

Dee Gay, president of the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club, said while she can sympathize with Colotl’s plight, she is in the country illegally.

“I think she should go home for a while and then try to come back legally,” Gay said. “There’s a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things, especially when it comes to the law.”

Gay said undocumented immigrants are supported by Georgia’s taxpayers to the tune of $2 billion annually. And because DACA was only an executive order, she said the Trump administration is right to do away with it.

“This is a country of laws,” said Gay, who was born in Puerto Rico. “People should obey the law.”

But Gonzalez said it’s high time for Congress to get together and pass legislation that will settle the issue once and for all, and keep America’s young immigrants from having to live in limbo.

“Congress is abdicating its responsibility to pass any type of immigration reform,” he said. “I think there is an opportunity for Congress to actually accomplish something, and this is one thing where there is broad bipartisan support. … There are tens of thousands of young people who are impacted by these decisions. I think it is a moral obligation for Congress to act.”

Salinas said she, too, hopes federal lawmakers will come together for the hundreds of thousands like her who are uncertain about the future.

“They really haven’t tackled this issue at all,” she said. “They just kind of put it on the back burner. I know my permit was renewed, but what happens if it is taken away?”

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(5) comments

Anonymous Commenter

I have no issue with immigrants coming to the US IF they can pay their way. They have children on the taxpayer dollars, them their children receive free breakfast and lunch at school, and they take advantage of our system. Medicaid paid for 49% of the births in the US last year. If you can't afford to pay your medical bills, then you shouldn't be having children. Healthcare has skyrocketed because we are paying for all those who don't pay. I personally know Hispanic families whom are cleaning houses for $100 cash and do two per day. That is $1000 per week free and clear. They need to close the borders and allow those in the US to stay if they pay a $10,000 per person fine and then they have to pass a test in English. This country is going down quickly

Anonymous Commenter

The massive influx of illegal aliens was caused by federal policy with no enforcement of immigration laws. One news article told the story of a DACA who is a 7th grade teacher and her joy at teaching 7th graders how to do math with whole numbers by using balloons which must be the new math. Mexico has stated it will take back the DACAs. It is time to close the borders and send the illegal aliens back to their homeland.

Anonymous Commenter

Mexico is in need of bilingual teachers and they can be certified to teach US-born students who returned to Mexico with their deported parents.

AnnaMichaels

Democrats, MSM, every faculty member at any university in the country fighting to the death for illegal aliens? they put a warm and fuzzy name on it "Dreamers." and no one seem to wonder why? future voters? can you imagine the Democrats ever being this interested or motivated in issues involving citizens! There is an estimated 800,000 DACA recipients in the US. That is 800,000 jobs American Citizens don't have or will be in competition for.

The MSM and Democrats would have us believe that all 800 thousand are not taking jobs Americans want (we've heard that lie for many years now.) This is another falsehood told to the American people. Democrats have actually changed the language. It's not illegal alien its "Immigrant." (like the lie there just 'Kids") there not all picking strawberries they take great Jobs. Good enough jobs to buy homes put their kids through college.Why must the citizens of our country have competition for jobs, education in their own country from foreign nationals? Now Democrats and illegal alien activists admit DACA recipients have great jobs,are buying homes, paying taxes.

The GOAL, motivation (Democrats just haven't figured this out yet) is for the American citizens to be employed, sending their kids to college, buying homes and paying taxes. It's not the responsibility of the citizens of this country to support, educate citizens from other country's.Deportation will save jobs and decrease the BILLIONS we spend on illegal aliens.

"Some" of the costs associated with illegal immigration......Dollars and Blood.

*The cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student.

*Now city, and state officials are appropriating millions of taxpayer dollars for legal fees to to file law suits and in defense of illegal aliens being deported.

*2012 illegal aliens sent home $62 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. This is why Mexico is getting involved in our politics.

*30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens. Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At $21,000 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison---U do the math.

*$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens, I repeat 3 MILLION a DAY to process Illegals in the Criminal justice system.

*$2.2Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps),WIC, & free school lunches.

Anonymous Commenter

More information for the discussion.Only looking at the DACA information - there are 160,000 DACAs that dropped out of high school. Another 160,000 DACAs finished high school or a GED but have no plans to attend college. According to an article the possible fraud rate on DACA applications could be 40-50% or higher. Then there is the study that showed 44% of DACAs that worked with no valid social security number.
Articles from another state, California, about illegal aliens, reveal a different
situation. The state is drowning in millions of illegal aliens. Housing shortages, increased traffic, crowding, welfare payment of $1.3 billion in two years in LA county. Millions of illegal aliens will soon be Democratic voters if Congress has its way. The examples of a few DACAs that go to 2-year and 4-year colleges don't represent the many other DACAs. Don't reward these illegal alien parents by giving their adult "kids" amnesty and citizenship. President Trump ended DACA Sept. 5. Start deporting now.

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