- Molly Bloom The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Federal officials now say they don't believe Jessica Colotl has a felony conviction that would mean the loss of her protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but stand by their decision to revoke her protection under that program.
Colotl, a former Kennesaw State University student whose arrest in 2010 on charges of impeding traffic and driving without a license drew national attention to the issue of unauthorized immigrants at public colleges, was in federal court in Atlanta today in the case.
Colotl, who came to this country at age 11, has twice received permission to remain in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Created by the Obama administration, DACA grants work permits and temporary protection from deportation to immigrants who were brought here as children.
Federal authorities revoked her DACA status last month.
At issue, an U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement spokesperson said at the time, is a document Colotl signed in 2011, admitting she gave Cobb County law enforcement officers a false home address.
Colotl says now she didn't give a false address -- her family had simply moved. The case was eventually dismissed.
"Ms. Colotl was subsequently allowed to enter a diversionary program by local authorities, " ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said last month. "However, under federal law her guilty plea is considered a felony conviction for immigration purposes."
Federal officials say now in court filings that incident isn't the reason why they revoked her DACA status.
A Department of Justice immigration lawyer argued in federal court today that Colotl's DACA status should still be revoked because the move was in line with immigration "enforcement priorities."
A ruling in the case is expected next week.