Denver – The mother of a brilliant student in Colorado was set free after authorities suspended her scheduled deportation for a year, apparently in response to a mobilization by pro-immigrant groups.
Norma Galindo, who was being held in a jail for the undocumented in Aurora, east of Denver, left there at 5:30 p.m. Friday and was taken immediately by a representative of the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition to her home in Basalt, 193 miles away, son Hector Morales said.
Edgar Niebla, spokesman for the Association of Youth United in Action and a CIRC board member, said that the release of Galindo, 39, and the suspension of her deportation were "completely unexpected."
"What's important is that she's home now and was able to spend Mother's Day with her family," Niebla said.
Last Thursday, CIRC and Niebla's group launched a campaign in favor of the Mexican immigrant's release, in part because her detention on May 1 came soon after Morales was accepted to Duke University and learned that he had been selected as a Daniels Fund Scholar.
Galindo's deportation, activists said, would have kept Morales, an outstanding student and athlete, from entering university.
They also argued that the deportation order for Galindo, who made an attempt in 2005 to obtain a Colorado ID card using another person's birth certificate, is one of those cases where authorities' discretion may be used to "freeze" the order and halt deportation procedures.
In a brief communique, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that Galindo had been set free and her deportation suspended for a year.
Niebla said that CIRC made "numerous calls" to ICE asking for Galindo's release and, though there was no direct contact with federal agents, "they apparently listened to the messages."
Attorney Ted Hess, who represents Galindo, formally asked ICE last Friday for the annulment of his client's deportation order on grounds that she has fulfilled the requirements for remaining in the country, such as speaking English, having children who are American citizens, not constituting a threat and making positive contributions to the community.