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Hundreds Show Up To Support Gabino Sanchez: Deportation Delayed But Moving Forward

Hundreds Show Up To Support Gabino Sanchez: Deportation Delayed But Moving Forward

Photo: Gabino Sanchez and Luis Gutierrez

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In Short Run, a Work Permit and Driver’s License Are Possible; 2013 Date Set for Individual Hearing to Pursue ‘Cancellation of Removal’

This week, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL-4) joined Gabino Sanchez, a South Carolina man facing deportation, at a hearing in Charlotte, NC and rallied with hundreds of supporters, including a large contingent of local clergy, outside the courthouse before the hearing.

Inside the court room, a judge and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attorneys agreed to allow Mr. Sanchez and his attorney, Marty Rosenbluth, Executive Director of the NC Immigrant Rights Project in Durham, to pursue “cancellation of removal” at a subsequent hearing to be held in February 2013.  At that hearing, evidence will be presented that deporting Mr. Sanchez will cause extreme and unusual hardship to his two young children, both of whom are U.S. citizens.  It is a high burden of proof, but all those who are supporting Mr. Sanchez’ effort to stay in the United States, including Congressman Gutierrez, are pleased with today’s outcome.

Ironically, in all likelihood, Mr. Sanchez will be able to obtain a work permit and subsequently, a driver’s license, at least until his next hearing in February.  The 28 year old has lived as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. since he arrived at age 14 and has received several citations for driving without a license in and around his home in southern South Carolina.

“Gabino Sanchez has lived and worked and raised a family here for more than a decade and it is not in anyone’s interest to have him deported,” Congressman Gutierrez said after the hearing.  “I do not understand why ICE has not followed President Obama’s guidelines and decided to move on from this case to go after someone else, someone who is a threat to his community or a serious criminal.  It is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and ties up the courts and law enforcement.”

“While the case should be dropped, I am happy that today’s outcome puts Gabino and his family in a safer place,” the Congressman continued.  “He will be able to work and drive legally while his case is decided and we will keep fighting with ICE and the White House to drop the case in the mean time.”

Before the hearing, hundreds of supporters gathered for a rally with prayers, music and speeches.  Representatives of the Concilio de Pastores Latinos (Council of Latino Pastors) played a significant role in turning out their followers and the Congressman remarked that the seeds of a revitalized movement for immigrants were taking root.

“The radio stations, the newspapers and especially the Latino churches are energized and I think we have something to build on,” Congressman Gutierrez said.  “When a community comes together to support a family facing deportation, we can often win victories and we are getting better at it.  Sometimes it just takes a little community action to make sure policies, like President Obama’s prosecutorial discretion policies for deportation, are being followed.”

The Congressman said he has been in touch with groups around the country who are forming Family Unity Commissions, efforts to bring clergy, attorneys, advocates, and community leaders together to fight deportations of individuals who should qualify for having their cases closed under guidelines issued by the Obama Administration, which have been formed in Alabama, California, Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.

Representative Gutierrez sees the deportation case against Mr. Sanchez as a test of deportation guidelines, announced by President Obama last year, that are supposed to prioritize the deportations of immigrants who have committed serious crimes like rape and murder and that apply prosecutorial discretion to close deportation cases against immigrants with deep ties to the United States and no significant criminal history.  Rep. Gutierrez attended an earlier hearing in the case in Charlotte on March 13, 2012 and a supervisory visit with immigration authorities in Charleston, SC on November 30, 2011.