Confusion Surrounds Sanctuary Cases And President's Executive Action

By Kate Sheehy
November 26, 2014

There is already confusion circulating as to who can be granted relief under President Barack Obama’s Executive Action, issued last week. An undocumented immigrant in sanctuary in Tucson may not be covered under the new immigration order.

Francisco Perez Cordova has been in sanctuary at a church in Tucson for nearly a year to avoid deportation.

Cordova has been in the country for almost 20 years and has five children who are U.S. citizens. Those factors make him eligible under the President’s order, but his lawyer, Margo Cowan, said ICE officials have denied his request for a stay of removal.

Cowan said they were told a directive from the Department of Homeland Security prevented a stay of removal for anyone currently facing deportation. Cowan said the information came from local ICE officials.

But a DHS spokesperson said there is no such directive and that cases will be reviewed on an individual basis.

A memorandum from Secretary of State Jeh Johnson echoes this same sentiment, requiring “DHS personnel to exercise discretion based on individual circumstances.”