Mexican grandfather wins U.S. deportation delay with clergy’s aid

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By Laila Kearney | NEW YORK

NEW YORK A Mexican man who has lived in the
United States illegally for 26 years won a two-month reprieve
from deportation on Friday after a Roman Catholic cardinal in
New Jersey and other faith leaders rallied behind him.

Catalino Guerrero, a 59-year-old grandfather who lives in
Union City, New Jersey, is fighting U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement to stay in the country after facing intensified
deportation efforts in the months since President Donald Trump
took office, the archbishop of Newark said in a statement.

Guerrero asked for a year’s stay of removal at a hearing in
Newark on Friday. Instead of being detained and deported
immediately, Guerrero was released to his family until a new
hearing scheduled for May 22, Cesar Martin Estela, his attorney,

If the stay is granted, Estela said the next step would be
filing a visa application for Guerrero and then for permanent

Trump campaigned on a promise to build a wall along the
U.S.-Mexico border and enact sweeping deportation measures. He
recently broadened the categories of people who could be
targeted for immigration enforcement to anyone who had been
charged with a crime.

Guerrero, who fled crime and lack of employment
opportunities in his native Puebla, Mexico in 1991, has remained
employed and law-abiding during his time in the United States,
the archdiocese said.

Guerrero, who had long sought a path to U.S. citizenship,
was contacted by immigration officials in February and ordered
to surrender his passport in March, the archdiocese said.

U.S. immigration officials could not immediately be reached
for comment. Guerrero also could not be reached.

Archbishop Joseph Tobin, who was appointed a cardinal by
Pope Francis in January, has rallied in support of Guerrero.
Tobin and other local religious leaders, including an Episcopal
church reverend and a rabbi, said Guerrero was unfairly

“As faith leaders, we are called to recognize and underscore
the humanity and dignity of every single individual as a unique
person and, at the same time, resist any attempts to demonize or
characterize refugees as sinister, faceless threats,” Tobin said
in a statement.

Guerrero has also attracted the support of New Jersey U.S.
Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat.

On Friday, Menendez joined Tobin and immigrant rights
activists in a protest in Newark against Guerrero’s deportation.

“I will continue to monitor Mr. Guerrero’s case and continue
the fight to fix our broken immigration system, so that people
like Mr. Guerrero can find a pathway to citizenship and ICE can
focus on the real ‘bad hombres,'” Menendez told reporters at the
rally, echoing a phrase Trump has used to describe some illegal

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