Feds reject Winston-Salem activist’s request to stay in U.S. ‎

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Uriel Alberto (The Winston-Salem Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Deportation seems imminent for Uriel Alberto, a Mexican-born immigrant activist in Winston-Salem who gained national attention in March when he went on a 10-day hunger strike.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta has declined Alberto’s request to stay in the U.S. under President Barack Obama’s latest, more lenient policy toward certain young immigrants, according to his immigration attorney, Helen Parsonage, a partner at Elliot Pishko Morgan PA in Winston-Salem.

On Alberto’s behalf, Parsonage asked for deferred action — a type of reprieve on deportation proceedings that ICE may grant as part of its power to exercise prosecutorial discretion. Under Obama’s deportation-policy announcement June 15, the reprieve would last two years and could lead to a work permit but it does not provide a path to citizenship or legal status.

Certain immigrants may qualify for deferred action if they have not been convicted of a serious misdemeanor — among other restrictions. Although ICE has not given a reason for declining Alberto’s request for deferred action, Parsonage said she believes the request was rejected because Alberto has a DWI conviction, which is considered a serious misdemeanor.

Word of ICE’s rejection came this week. Still, Parsonage said, “We’re going to do whatever we can to keep Uriel here.”

This article was written by Bertrand M. Gutierrez and originally published by the Winston-Salem Journal.