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Appeals Court Affirms Decision to Deport Immigrant Father

The Fifth Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a selective enforcement claim to halt the removal of an immigrant father, citing that it also lacks the subject-matter jurisdiction to conduct a judicial review of the claim.

Martin Duron Esparza moved to Mississippi from Mexico as an undocumented immigrant and has been a valued member of the community for over 20 years. He filed an application for cancellation of removal in 2011, proving that he had the good moral character, lack of a criminal record, and that his removal would cause tremendous hardship for his remaining relatives – many of whom are US citizens.

An immigration judge, however, found that Esparza failed to meet the criterion of having a 10-year continuous presence in the country, and subsequently ordered his removal to Mexico. Esparza appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), but his appeal was dismissed in 2013.

Esparza stayed in the country for years through an Order of Supervision, but was eventually deported on June 1, 2017.

His remaining minor children, Brittany and Stefany Vega Duron, filed a suit against ICE officials and requested a temporary restraining order on the removal of their father, claiming that their rights to familial association under the First and Fifth Amendments were violated and that Esparza’s removal was selectively enforced given his national origin.

“These are things that a [child] shouldn’t have to be thinking about,” claims Natividad Gonzales, an immigrant who came to Alabama 13 years ago but presently remains undocumented.

There are over 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, many of whom unfortunately share experiences similar to that of Esparza’s. And things could get worse as the Trump administration institutes an indiscriminate approach to removals. This includes subjecting individuals charged with – and not yet convicted of – certain crimes to deportation and giving immigration officers the authority to arbitrarily determine if an immigrant poses a risk to public safety or national security.

Cristian Avila, a 26-year-old immigrant based in Phoenix, regrets that “suddenly, you could be subject to removal for driving without a license.”

How easy it has become to be removed in this administration is making immigrants fearful, and that fear has affected every other part of their lives.

“I know families that wouldn’t take their kids to the Mardi Gras parade,” says social worker Alejandra Salinas. “They say, ‘I heard they might be picking people up there.’”

Attorneys and immigrant rights groups have been instructing people believed to be at risk of deportation to devise family preparedness plans, which ideally include emergency contacts, a detailed list of a child’s allergies, and so on.

If you, or a loved one, need any kind of assistance on your immigration case, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225 to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.

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