Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bronx Community College student granted another year in the United States -- because judge is busy (NY Daily News)

Bronx Community College student granted another year in the United States -- because judge is busy

BY Erica Pearson

Originally Published:Tuesday, August 9th 2011, 3:48 PM
Updated: Tuesday, August 9th 2011, 7:13 PM

A student at Bronx Community College who faces deportation can now stay in the U.S. for at least a year because the judge doesn't have openings in her calendar until next summer.

"They gave me more time," a relieved Julio Hernandez said after Tuesday's hearing, hugging supporters and smiling.

"I feel like I'm in limbo," said Hernandez, 24. "I want to finish my major ... that's why I feel a little bit happy, but I also feel afraid."

After his lawyer filed a motion in New York City Immigration Court, Judge Terry Bain set a new hearing date so the prosecution would have a chance to review the paperwork.

But because her court is so backlogged, she can't fit him in again until June.

"This is putting you on quickly," said Bain, who has immigration hearings scheduled all the way into 2014.

Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, was detained in April after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials searched a Greyhound bus he had taken on his way back from a spring break trip to Chicago.

"We believe it was racial profiling," said his lawyer, Aygul Charles.

She argued Tuesday that evidence from the bus search can't be used to deport Hernandez because his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

Specifically, the lawyer was referencing the Fourth Amendment's protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures."

Officials from both Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has the power to deport Hernandez, declined to comment on the case.

Customs and Border Protection sources maintained that questioning passengers and asking them for identification is constitutional and within their jurisdiction.

Hernandez says he is afraid to return to his home country because he left there in 2007 after gang members threatened him for being gay.

He has finished intensive English courses and plans to begin a two-year radiology program in January.

"This is what we have to fight for - for him to be able to stay and finish his education," said Tania Mattos of the New York State Youth Leadership Council.

Even as he fights his deportation on constitutional grounds, Hernandez has applied for a special immigration status known as deferred action, which would allow him to stay in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons.

His lawyer is also planning to submit an application for asylum for him.

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