Ohio (Mark Curnutte-Cincinnati.com) – A combination rally, vigil and procession to local Congressional offices is planned for noon Wednesday for a local man.
Julio Tellez, 24, brought illegally to the United States from Mexico when he was 8, faces a hearing Dec. 14 in federal immigration court in Cleveland.
Friends and supporters with the local immigration reform organization Committee Oscar Romerowill again rally on behalf of Tellez. They will hold signs calling for an end to the deportation process against Tellez and call on the regional office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to honor the letter and spirit of two memos written by ICE director John Morton.
Morton is calling for ICE lawyers to exercise prosecutorial discretion in cases involving what he terms “low-priority removals” of illegal immigrants who have no serious criminal record and pose no threat to U.S. national security.
On Nov. 17, the New York Times reported the Department of Homeland Security – of which ICE is a part – has begun a review of 300,000 deportation cases now before federal immigration courts in an attempt to reduce heavy backlogs on burdened immigration judges. The goal is to allow judges to focus on deporting immigrants with serious criminal records or who pose threats to national security.
The courts face a backlog that in June reached a record 247,922 cases. The average waiting time for cases in those courts was 459 days.
Tellez said Sunday that he and his pro bono attorney, Jorge Martinez, have not succeeded in getting word from ICE and Homeland Security about whether his case is one being reviewed.
“Every time I call, no matter who I call, I get the runaround,” said Tellez, issued a continuance Oct. 12 by an immigration judge in Cleveland. Tellez, who works a drywall job and has worked in fast food, is the sole breadwinner of his family – his mother, who also entered the U.S. illegally, and two younger U.S. citizen siblings who attend public school in Hamilton.
On Oct. 12, about 50 supporters of Tellez and federal Dream Act legislation – which would provide a narrow path to naturalization through academic achievement or military service for people like Tellez – marched through downtown Cleveland.
Tellez is a 2005 graduate of Hamilton High School and a former engineering student at Miami University-Hamilton campus. He was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Belmont County, Ohio, in January 2008. The minivan carrying Tellez and four other Hispanic men back from a construction job in Pittsburgh had broken down on Interstate 70.
Opponents of the Dream Act call it “amnesty” and say it would lead to more illegal immigration.