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December 19, 2017 - 1:29pm

Hearing in Batavia delayed for immigrant facing deportation

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Before her deportation hearing this morning, immigrant-rights protestors rallied outside the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia in support of Dolores Bustamante, a single mother who has been living and working in Wayne County.

Bustamante was taken into custody in 2014 when a trooper stopped her for a traffic infraction. Her attorney and supporters say the trooper violated State Police policy and constitutional protections by running an immigration status check on her. The trooper found she was in the country without proper documentation.

Her hearing was delayed until May this morning because the translator scheduled to handle the case couldn't speak clearly because of illness and no other translator was available.

Her attorney, Jose Perez, did make a motion to dismiss the case because Bustamante's rights had been violated by the trooper.

The judge refused to hear the motion because Bustamante's first attorney previously made factual admissions that Bustamante is from Mexico, was in the country without documentation, and admitted Bustamente was subject to possible removal.

That, Perez said, was a mistake by that attorney and could lead to a complaint to the New York State Bar for negligence and malpractice. 

The admissions potentially deny Bustamante the ability to challenge her arrest and deportation on constitutional grounds.

Once the complaint is filed with the Bar, the immigration judge can agree to hear and consider the motions.

Immigration-rights advocates in Central and Western New York are using Bustamante's case to highlight what they see as a disturbing trend under the Trump Administration to increase deportations, which are up 40 percent. 

Supporters say under the previous administration, Bustamante would not have as readily faced deportation because of her community ties, regular employment, and dependent children.

Perez said in May he will make the case that Bustamante would be granted asylum because she had been a victim of domestic violence in Mexico. Also, he noted, her son, who was not involved in gang activity in Mexico, was recently killed by gang members there, which could make it unsafe for Bustamante to return to Mexico.

NOTE: Information about proceedings in court this morning come entirely from the defense attorney in the case because of convoluted rules at the detention facility. For some reason, defendants are allowed only 10 friends and family guests in the courtroom, and for some inexplicable reason, journalists are included in that count. I agreed to leave so another family member could get into court, in part because of another inexplicable rule -- I couldn't have my mobile phone with me, even while attorneys were allowed their phones.  

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