Earlier on Wednesday, Jessica Colotl, whose Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status was revoked in early May for a 2010 arrest for driving without a license, said in a press call organized by her supporters that even though President Trump “said he wouldn’t go after DREAMers,” she felt “like Trump’s administration came after me.”
“I was shocked when my DACA was revoked,” Colotl said. “I came to the United States from Mexico when I was 11 years old, and I’ve lived my entire adult life in Atlanta. I went to college here and helped found a chapter of a sorority for Latina women. Since graduation, I have volunteered with organizations built to empower Latino students to pursue higher education, and I became a paralegal at an immigration law firm. I was able to do all of this because DACA allowed me to get a driver’s license and a work permit. With DACA, I could work, drive, plan for my future, and live a full life in the only country that feels like home for me. But now, that’s at risk. President Trump said he wouldn’t go after DREAMers, but from my experience it feels like a total change of policy from the Obama administration, like Trump’s administration came after me.”
Colotl was part of a call organized by the American Civil Liberties Union and immigrant rights group United We Dream (UWD). According to a release from the ACLU and UWD, “the ACLU, ACLU of Georgia, and Kuck Immigration Partners are taking legal action against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to revoke her status. Jessica, who came to the U.S. when she was 11, has been previously granted protection under DACA twice.”
On Thursday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia will hear arguments in Jessica’s case. She is facing a possible deportation.
“Donald Trump met with DREAMers during the campaign, and I believe they played a role in softening him to this particular group of immigrants. But he is getting too much credit for not abolishing DACA, as DACA recipients are still being targeted by Trump and [DHS Secretary] Kelly for deportation,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) near the beginning of the call. “For everyone else in this country outside the administration, this is settled, established, public opinion territory. Americans want legality and accountability in our immigration system, and they reject mass deportation. The only place where deporting DREAMers seems like a good idea is in the far corners of the Republican Party in Congress, in the Oval Office, and in the right-wing partisan media. I want to thank Jessica and let her know that I will do what I can to make sure my colleagues stand up to protect her and others in similar situations.”
Previous reports about Colotl said that besides her arrest for driving without a license, she pleaded guilty for giving a false address. That case, according the New York Times, “was dismissed after completing community service, a common outcome for low-level offenses. Though she was not convicted, under immigration law her admission to the crime was enough to initiate the loss of DACA status.”
“While the Obama administration allowed Ms. Colotl into the program in 2013 —and allowed her to renew in 2015— the new administration appears less willing to overlook her record,” the Times reported.
At the time Colotl’s DACA status was revoked, an ICE statement said this: “Jessica Colotl, an unlawfully present Mexican national, admitted guilt to a felony charge in August 2011 of making a false statement to law enforcement in Cobb County, Ga. Ms. Colotl was subsequently allowed to enter a diversionary program by local authorities; however, under federal law her guilty plea is considered a felony conviction for immigration purposes.”
However, ACLU attorney Michael Tan disputed both the Times account and the ICE statement.
“That charge is completely bogus,” Tan said. “Ms. Colotl never gave a false address to the police and does not have a felony conviction. Last week, the government finally admitted to the federal court —as it had to— that Ms. Colotl in fact does not a conviction for immigration purposes. But it’s still arguing that Ms. Colotl is ineligible for DACA because she’s a “priority” for immigration enforcement.”
Besides the media call, the ACLU also published a video about Colotl’s story.