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Immigration Law

Deferred Action Victory in Utah

"Three sisters who tearfully begged for a chance to go before a judge to avoid deportation within days were granted something beyond what they imagined.  A yearlong stay in Utah, courtesy of the federal government.  Avelar and her two sisters — Laura and Silvia — were granted a rare deferred action from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) authorities, the agency confirmed Wednesday.  The sisters’ case rose to prominence Monday when the sisters told their story publicly in front of LDS Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The three, all Mormon, said they were hoping for a miracle to stave off the final order of deportation set for June 15.  Utah Republican Party Central Committee member Laura Warburton read about their story in The Salt Lake Tribune and forwarded it to Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, asking if there was anything he could do on their behalf.  Shurtleff decided he would write a personal email to ICE Director John Morton — something he said he has never done before.  "I didn’t know if this was too late in the game," Shurtleff said. "I wanted to be clear to John that this wasn’t something I was going to be calling on every day. I was careful to say I didn’t expect anything and apologized if this was out of order but maybe he could do something."  When asked if Shurtleff’s action spurred the review, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice acknowledged the correspondence between the attorney general and Morton but said the review was a re-evaluation of the case, "not [based] on other factors."  She said the deferred action was good for one year." - David Montero, Salt Lake Tribune, June 6, 2012.