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Former Kennesaw student stripped of protected immigration status

by Jeremy Redmon, AJC

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Federal authorities have stripped a former Kennesaw State University student of her protected immigration status, setting the stage for her possible deportation.

Jessica Colotl’s arrest and near-deportation for a traffic violation in 2010 sparked a controversy about unauthorized immigrants attending public colleges in Georgia and beyond.

A Cobb County judge would go on to dismiss the criminal case stemming from the traffic charge.

But officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement on Wednesday said that she admitted guilt in the case.

“Jessica Colotol, an unlawfully present Mexican national, admitted guilt to a felony charge in 2011 of making a false statement to law enforcement in Cobb County,” ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said in a statement.

Cox said she was allowed to enter a diversionary program by local authorities.

“However, under federal law her guilty plea is considered a felony conviction for immigration purposes,” he said.

Colotol is challenging the action in federal court.

Her attorney Charles Kuck called the federal government’s move “legally incorrect.”

“It is not a conviction for federal immigration purposes,” Kuck said.

President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to crack down on illegal immigration and cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created buy the Obama administration

But since taking office he has softened his language on that program.

Wednesday’s news raises question about how the Trump administration will handle DACA recipients.

Colotol lives in Norcross and had previously worked as a paralegal.

 

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The student news site of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia
Former Kennesaw student stripped of protected immigration status