(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton today on behalf of Connecticut immigrant Josemaria Islas, who is scheduled to be deported. In the letter, Senator Blumenthal requests that the deportation order be revoked, stating the legal basis for Islas’ deportation has been “questioned by Congress and challenged in the courts.” Blumenthal further notes that the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, has approved legislation that would “almost certainly allow Mr. Islas to have his deportation order revoked.”
This is the second letter that Senator Blumenthal has written to Morton on behalf of Islas. A copy of the previous letter can be found here.
A text of the letter is as follows:
May 28, 2013
The Honorable John Morton, Director United States Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement 500 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20536
Dear Director Morton,
On April 18, 2013, I wrote to you regarding the case of Josemaria Islas (A 205 497 397; DOB: February 2, 1978). In that letter, I expressed concern regarding Mr. Islas’s scheduled deportation, particularly in light of possible legislation that might allow him to remain in this country. Since my letter, the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would almost certainly allow Mr. Islas to have his deportation order revoked. See S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, sec. 2101 (providing for immigrants subject to a final removal order to receive registered provisional immigrant status and terminate the removal order).
As a member of the Judiciary Committee who took an active role in shaping S. 744, I was pleased that the committee approved legislation to retain provisions that would protect immigrants like Mr. Islas. Further, the Board of Immigration Appeals continues to wrestle with the question of whether the deportation of an immigrant with Mr. Islas’s history violates the Eighth Amendment’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment and Fifth Amendment due process rights.
The legal basis for deporting Mr. Islas has been questioned by Congress and challenged in the courts. More fundamentally, Mr. Islas has no criminal record, and there is no evidence that he poses any threat to his neighbors in the United States. Rather, Mr. Islas’s history indicates that if he is allowed to remain in the country he calls home he will use that opportunity to continue contributing to the community that he has embraced and that has embraced him. I understand and respect the difficult and important tasks that ICE faces, but I cannot understand how deporting Mr. Islas would be the best use of ICE’s resources or best serve the intent of the law.
I urge you to grant Mr. Islas a stay of deportation until the Board of Immigration Appeals has a chance to rule on the constitutional question raised by his case, and until Congress has the opportunity to decide whether deporting immigrants like Mr. Islas is in the best interests of the United States. Deporting Mr. Islas or others like him while the legal basis for their deportation may yet be eliminated would be wasteful, unfair, and unduly harsh. Thank you again for your consideration. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact Sam Simon at 202-224-2823.
Richard Blumenthal United States Senator