Salvadoran free for now
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” It was a long 45 minutes for Ginny Badger.
She was wondering whether Jose Mendoza Turbin would be locked up Wednesday for deportation to El Salvador.
“They did not keep Jose, so I’m a happy camper right now,” Badger said. “He had to go down (to Grand Junction) to report for deportation, and we expected them to put him in custody and keep him there until they could ship him off to El Salvador. … I just think maybe all the public pressure and some of the things that his attorney had done bought him some more time.”
Turbin came to live in the Roaring Fork Valley at 17. He arrived from his jungle village in El Salvador to escape gang violence. He moved in with his brother, who was doing construction, and enrolled in school. At first he could barely speak English. But he graduated high school and is studying at Colorado Mountain College in hopes of going to nursing school.
He’s won a wide swath of community support. Turbin’s teachers have said he’s too valuable to the community to be deported and he truly cares about people. He volunteers and is seen as a role model.
Turbin was ordered to appear at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility for deportation in Grand Junction on Wednesday. Badger, a teaching assistant at Glenwood Springs High School, went to Grand Junction with Turbin and his attorney. She said goodbye, not knowing if she’d ever see him again.
“We took him to the door, and then they would not allow anyone in but his attorney and Jose,” Badger said. “They allowed me to say goodbye to him at the door. We did not know until he walked out the door with the attorney that he would be free. It was a long 45 minutes.”
Turbin applied for asylum soon after entering the U.S. He’d argued that returning home would subject him to violent Salvadoran gangs that tried to recruit him.
Legally, Turbin’s case for staying in the country is not yet resolved, but he’s free for now and was expected to attend class Wednesday. Badger said Turbin was told that he will receive a letter with notice of when to appear in the future, but that there is currently no time frame for that appointment. Neither he nor his attorney could be immediately reached.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
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