DENVER – The daughter of an Adams County man, who is facing deportation, says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deceived her during a meeting last week.
Viviana Andazola Marquez told Denver7 that she accompanied her father, Melecio Andazola Morales, to and “Adjustment of Status” interview on October 2.
“We thought it was the last step for him to finally become a permanent resident,” she said. “Everything seemed to be going well.”
Andazola Marquez said one of the officials told her, “Your dad has been recommended for approval.”
The daughter was then asked to leave the room.
She said 20 minutes later, her dad’s attorney came out and said Melecio had been detained.
“Honestly, it was incredibly cruel,” she said, “In retrospect, now I know they had planned that all along.”
“My dad was trying to do right by the law,” she said. “He filed all the necessary paperwork, paid all the fees, hired a lawyer, did everything in his power to obtain lawful status and he was tricked and brought into the office and detained.”
The family began searching for a new attorney.
They hired Hans Meyer.
“This is a case about a man who has tried to do right by immigration law for nearly two decades,” Meyer said. “This is also a case about bad immigration laws having terrible impacts on good people and good families.”
Andazola Morales is a father of four. His children are all U.S. citizens. The youngest suffers from epilepsy. The oldest, Viviana, is a senior at Yale.
Andazola Morales also is the primary caregiver for his lawful permanent resident mother.
“This is a perfect example of an ideal family unit that is contributing to our community,” Meyer said. “We’re calling on ICE to grant a Stay of Removal and release Melecio from custody so that we can untangle 20 years-worth of immigration proceedings.”
When asked about the claim of deception, Meyer replied, “It’s completely unfair. It doesn’t make any sense. That’s not what the laws look like in our country. That’s not what a fair government looks like. You don’t deceive anybody about what’s going to happen to them. If anything, the government’s job is to be straightforward and honest about its application of law.”
Viviana told Denver7 that she might have to quit school and get a job so she can take care of her younger siblings.
“I’m begging and asking ICE to release my dad and grant him a Stay of Removal, but I also think they should think deeply about what they are doing. Are they really doing this out of national safety concerns, or is there a different political agenda that they’re trying to push?”
Denver7 reached out to ICE officials to ask about the status of this case and the claim that and ICE representative deceived Viviana.
We received the following reply by email:
“Melecio Andazola Morales, 41, from Mexico, was arrested by deportation officers with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office on Oct. 12.
Mr. Andazola was previously deported from the United States in March of 1997. His previous removal order has been reinstated, and he remains in ICE custody pending his removal from the United States.”
Meyer says Andazola Morales has no criminal history, but an immigration source says depending on the alien’s criminal background, an (undocumented immigrant) who illegally reenters the U.S., after having been previously removed, has committed a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
Meyer says he wants time to research his client’s 20-year immigration history, to see if there are any other legal options.
“This is a difficult, complicated case with 20 years of history,” he said. “In the meantime, we want ICE to grant a Stay of Removal and release him from custody because he doesn’t present a risk.”