Loud and clear Speaker:
DENVER, Colorado ” Colorado Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, plans to weigh in on the deportation and asylum case of El Salvadoran immigrant Jose Mendoza Turbin of Glenwood Springs.
Carroll said in a telephone press conference Thursday that he first became familiar with Turbin’s case a couple of week’s ago when he was in Glenwood Springs with Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison.
“I had the opportunity to meet with (Glenwood Springs High School teacher) Ginny Badger, who is leading the effort to get Immigration and Customs Enforcement to show some discretion and allow Mr. Turbin to stay in this country,” Carroll said.
He was also moved after listening to a Colorado Public Radio “Colorado Matters” segment on Turbin’s case, which aired Wednesday.
The fact that Turbin took it upon himself as a 17-year-old coming to the United States to escape the gang violence in El Salvador, to learn English and graduate from high school with a desire to study nursing is an extraordinary circumstance, Carroll said.
“He has shown a great deal of commitment to be a productive member of society,” Carroll said. “I am convinced that immigration officials should make an exception for this young man and allow him to stay in this country.
“This man is a perfect example of the kind of immigration we want to encourage,” he said.
Carroll intends to send two letters by early next week, one asking ICE to hold off on deporting Turbin, and another to the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals encouraging that agency to reconsider Turbin’s case for political asylum.
Turbin, 21, applied for asylum soon after he arrived in the country. Meanwhile, he learned English and graduated from Glenwood Springs High School, and has gone on to continue his education at Colorado Mountain College with hopes of pursuing a nursing career.
He was facing deportation last month, but earned a reprieve at a hearing in Grand Junction on Feb. 16.
He now has an application pending before the Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals seeking to reopen his case for asylum. A separate application before ICE seeks a stay of removal, based on claims by his supporters that the Glenwood Springs community would benefit by allowing him to remain in the country.
“I believe, at the end of the day, that this speaks to our failed immigration policies,” Carroll said. “I am fairly certain there are many cases out there where someone is escaping gang violence by coming to this country, and would be in imminent threat of losing their life if they were sent back.”
Carroll said he supports the Obama administration’s call for immigration reform on a national scale.
Turbin’s Denver attorney, Shelley Wittevrongel, said Thursday there are no new developments in Turbin’s case.
“We are still looking for a letter from ICE here in Denver that says they have granted a stay of removal, or deferred action to Jose Mendoza Turbin,” she said. “We are hoping and expecting that that will be the result of the work of the people of Glenwood Springs.”
Contact John Stroud: 384-9160
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