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Last Chance to Avoid Deportation

Harrisonburg’s Cesar Lara Rios was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, on May 10, and last week ICE denied him another stay of removal. Now he is poised to be deported to Mexico, but his attorney has one remaining hope for enabling him to stay here, as WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

ICE says that Rios was first granted voluntary departure in 2006 after Border Patrol agents encountered him attempting unlawful entry into the U.S. His arrest six years later for taking firewood from national land put him back on ICE radar, this time in the Shenandoah Valley.

Herndon-based immigration attorney Zarana Robinson says his case to be allowed to remain in the U.S. is compelling: His 2012 arrest was for a minor crime; his mother is a lawful resident with serious medical issues and relies on his support; and he fears for his safety in Mexico. Furthermore, she says, his attorney in 2012 failed to fully explain options to Rios, and so his agreement then to a voluntary departure order should have since been rescinded.

ICE says it has afforded him due process including multiple stays of deportation and intends “to effect his removal to Mexico.”

According to Robinson,

ZARANA ROBINSON: He's basically at ICE's mercy. Now the only thing is if senators get involved or if some kind of government official does something.

But Robinson does have one more idea -- if there’s time: Even though the Board of Immigration Appeals has already denied a one-time-only motion to reopen his case, Robinson says there has been a change in circumstances for Rios -- new fears for his safety in Mexico following the murders of three relatives in the last year. That could make him eligible to file another motion with the Board.

Robinson plans to pursue that first thing Tuesday, May 30.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz was a freelance journalist for WMRA from 2015 - 2019.