A 27-year-old, undocumented Ridgeland man whose fight against deportation is supported by a congressman will have a chance to argue his case in court, his attorney said Tuesday after an immigration hearing in Charlotte.
Hundreds of people joined members of the clergy and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., for a rally before the 1 p.m. hearing. They urged federal officials to drop the case against Gabino Sanchez, a Ridgeland resident flagged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in November after multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving without a license.
In the hearing, ICE attorneys agreed to allow Sanchez to argue for "cancellation of removal" in court in February 2013, said his attorney, Marty Rosenbluth, executive director of the N.C. Immigrant Rights Project,
Rosenbluth said Sanchez will have to meet some requirements to have the deportation proceedings dropped.
Proving that Sanchez has been in the country continuously for 10 years, has good moral character and has two U.S.-born children will be easy, Rosenbluth said. Sanchez came to the U.S. when he was 14, and ICE says that his criminal record consists of nine convictions for misdemeanor traffic violations, mostly for driving without a license.
However, it could be more difficult to prove that his deportation would lead to "extreme and highly unusual hardship" for his family, despite the fact that he has young children who are citizens, Rosenbluth said.
Tuesday's hearing marked the third time that Rosenbluth and Gutierrez argued that federal authorities should drop the case based on a ICE policy that is intended to target dangerous undocumented immigrants.
Even though the case hasn't been dropped, both Rosenbluth and Gutierrez were glad that Sanchez will have his day in court.
"While the case should be dropped, I am happy that today's outcome puts Gabino and his family in a safer place," Gutierrez said.
Because Sanchez must wait until next year to learn his fate, the law allows him to obtain a work permit and subsequently, a driver's license.
"The courts know that while you wait for your next hearing, you have to eat," Rosenbluth said. "That's going to be our next step."
Sanchez, who formerly worked in construction and landscaping, has had difficulty working since the case began because he has been advised not to drive without a license, Rosenbluth said.
- Illinois congressman calls on federal authorities to drop deportation case against S.C. father, March 13, 2012
- Illinois Congressman continues support of Ridgeland man facing deportation, March 12, 2012
- Congressman: Immigrants can fight tough new SC law, Nov. 30, 2011
- U.S. Rep. to defend Ridgeland man facing deportation, Nov. 29, 2011