Metro Atlanta woman continues fight to protect "Dreamers" from d - CBS46 News

Metro Atlanta woman continues fight to protect "Dreamers" from deportation

Posted: Updated:
Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

A metro Atlanta woman who has fought for years to keep from being deported was supposed to be in court Thursday for an immigration hearing but it never happened.

Jessica Colotl became the face of the issue eight years ago, even before the program DACA was in existence. In 2010, she was a student at Kennesaw State University when she was pulled over on campus for impeding the flow of traffic as she looked for a parking spot.

Authorities in Cobb County flagged her as undocumented, and she ended up spending 37 days locked up in an immigration detention center. 

CBS46 spoke with Colotl by phone on Wednesday. She said she planned to fly back to Atlanta for a hearing Thursday which she hopes will close her immigration hearings once and for all. An immigration appeals board is recommending the judge administratively close her immigration proceedings, Colotl said.

That hearing never took place because the court didn't have her files. Her lawyer says that gives them more time to work on her case, which has been extended until May.

"The outcome of the case is a victory for me," Colotl told CBS46 News. "It allows me to stay in the country longer. And by then maybe we'll have a new immigration judge who will be able to follow the order from the Board of Immigration Appeals."

Colotl was in Washington D.C. Wednesday lobbying for DACA, which she has done for several years. She says she's been listening to the back and forth between members of Congress, and she hopes that under the Trump administration, so-called "dreamers" will continue to be protected from deportation.

"I would hope that he stands by his words and that he keeps us here in the United States because it's the only place that we call home," said Colotl. "I'm very hopeful, but I'm also prepared for the worst-case scenario. The fight is not over, and I will continue to fight because I believe in the American system, and I have always believed that justice prevails." 

Earlier this week, a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction ordering the Trump administration to temporarily restart the DACA program, which was created by President Obama. Under the program, immigrants brought to the U.S. as children are protected from deportation.

The temporary injunction by the federal judge blocks the president's plan to phase out DACA. But the Trump administration is vowing to fight the injunction, insisting that Congress, not a sitting president, must find a solution for the "Dreamers."

Nearly 1.5 million people have been accepted into the DACA program since it started in 2012. 2015 had the most with nearly 500,000 people. Most of the people accepted into the program are from Mexico. Countries from Central and South America round out the top five countries for DACA recipients.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Connect with CBS46