Illegal immigrant turns down chance to gain amnesty

The Washington Times — The Honduran illegal immigrant whose case sparked a judicial spanking for President Obama’s new deportation amnesty said Tuesday he doesn’t think he would qualify for the president’s new policy anyway, and wants to get his case over with as quickly as possible.

In papers filed by his lawyer the man, Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, said he wants to continue to plead guilty to charges that he illegally snuck back into the country after having been deported. A judge had given him the chance of withdrawing his guilty plea and making an argument that he should be eligible for tentative legal status under the president’s new amnesty.

But Juarez-Escobar told the court he just wants to get it over with and be released so that he can get back to work and support his wife and three children who are still living in Honduras.

“He is willing to forgo fighting to stay in the U.S. if it means protracted detention, with limited chance of success,” lawyer Alonzo Burney told a federal district court in Pennsylvania.

Juarez-Escobar’s case became a flashpoint in the immigration debate after Judge Arthur J. Schwab last month ruled Mr. Obama’s deportation amnesty unconstitutional, saying the president stepped on Congress’s power to decide immigration policy.

Judge Schwab said on its face, Juarez-Escobar’s case didn’t seem to qualify for the amnesty, which applies to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children or to illegal immigrant parents of U.S. citizen children or lawful permanent residents. But he asked a lawyer to examine the situation anyway and decide what was best for Juarez-Escobar.

Mr. Burney said Juarez-Escobar has a brother who is a U.S. citizen and who could apply for a visa on Juarez-Escobar’s behalf, but that would take more than a decade to go through and would require a special waiver because Juarez-Escobar has already been kicked out of the country and snuck back in.

The lawyer said trying to fight deportation through the courts would leave Juarez-Escobar unable to work, which means his family in Honduras wouldn’t have any support. Mr. Burney said given that choice, they want to leave his guilty plea intact.

Judge Schwab has scheduled in-person oral arguments for later this week to decide what to do in the case.