DENVER – Colorado's governor on Thursday denied a pardon application from a woman who lived at a Quaker meeting house in Denver to avoid U.S. immigration authorities, quashing her hopes of a final way to fight deportation.
Ingrid Encalada Latorre, a 33-year-old native of Peru, asked Gov. John Hickenlooper last month for the pardon after a Denver judge rejected her appeal of a 2010 case in which she pleaded guilty to felony possession of falsified or stolen identification papers.
A judge last year issued an order allowing Latorre to be deported, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had agreed not to pursue it through Friday to give her time to work on her appeal.
Hickenlooper's written statement issued a day before that deadline called his final decision "clear but still painful."
"I did not come to this decision lightly," Hickenlooper said. "I spoke with her personally, and members of my team met with her and her attorney at length to ensure we had a full account of her case. I am moved by Ms. Encalada Latorre's dream of being an American and her extraordinarily hard work to support her family while she was here."
In a written statement, Latorre said would use the next 24 hours "to work with my lawyer and plan next steps," including how to handle her son's passport remaining in transit and recent orders that her other son should see a local eye specialist.
"I can't imagine leaving Colorado, my home of 17 years, to return to Peru in such a short amount of time," she said. "I am so thankful to my community for all the support they have provided me and my family. I am hopeful Immigration and Customs Enforcement will extend my stay to give me some time to prepare."
According to the Denver Post, Latorre later told reporters gathered outside the governor's office: "I am disappointed and now I will have to leave the country, I'll have to return to Peru."
Latorre completed probation and paid $9,000 in back taxes after pleading guilty. But an immigration judge issued a deportation order in 2016, citing her felony plea. She sought refuge at the Quaker meeting house in November to avoid ICE. In May, she reunited with her family, including two U.S.-born children, ages 1 and 8, after ICE said it would not immediately seek her arrest.
Hickenlooper said he had to consider the damage that Latorre caused to the woman whose identity she used, who opposed a pardon after "years dealing with the unlawful use of her Social Security number."
Latorre's supporters hoped that Hickenlooper would issue his second pardon aimed at stopping deportation proceedings. In May, the governor pardoned Cuban immigrant, Rene Lima-Marin, for an armed robbery Lima-Marin committed in 1998. At the time, ICE said the pardon had no effect on a pending deportation order, and he was taken into ICE custody. An immigration judge later allowed Lima-Marin to re-argue his case, which is pending.
Hickenlooper said individual clemency decisions aren't a fix for a "broken immigration system" in the U.S.
"It cannot, on its own, stop the deportation process," he said.
This story has been corrected to show it was Lattore's son, not daughter, who needed an eye specialist.