April 18, 2017 / 10:51 PM / 4 months ago

Mexican man, backed by New Jersey senators, wins deportation reprieve

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Mexican man backed by New Jersey's two U.S. senators in his battle to avoid deportation after living illegally in the United States for 26 years won a one-year reprieve on Tuesday, the government said.

Catalino Guerrero, a 59-year-old grandfather from Union City, New Jersey, who has also received the backing of Catholic and other religious leaders, was granted a stay of removal for one year, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Corey Booker, both New Jersey Democrats, became directly involved on behalf of Guerrero, who got caught up in the government's intensified deportation efforts after President Donald Trump took office in January.They hailed the decision by ICE to delay Guerrero's deportation, which his lawyer has said would enable him to apply for a visa and then for permanent residency.

"I was very proud to see how New Jerseyans rallied behind Catalino and his family, using our collective power to reject a mass deportation agenda and show we are a community that stands united for justice, fairness, and common sense," Menendez said in a statement.

"The immigration policies proposed by the Trump administration stand in stark contrast to some of our most fundamental American values and callously target New Jerseyans, like Catalino, who not only pose no threat to public safety, but contribute so much to what makes our state and nation strong," said Booker.

Guerrero, who fled crime and lack of employment opportunities in his native Puebla, Mexico, in 1991, has remained employed and law-abiding during his time in the United States, according to the Newark archdiocese.

After having long sought a path to U.S. citizenship, Guerrero was contacted by immigration officials in February, the archdiocese said.

Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Tom Brown

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