U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took custody of Rene Lima-Marin, 38, Wednesday after a judge ordered him to be released from state prison in an armed robbery case.
Although an Arapahoe County District Court judge this week granted his habeas corpus petition and ordered him released, Lima-Marin found that his immigration status derailed his anticipated reunion with his family.
Kimberly Diego, Lima-Marin's attorney who represented him in his effort to be released from prison, said that her client was "absolutely legal", and told the newspaper that Cubans are unique in their standing as immigrants. He was then immediately detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
On Tuesday, a judge said Lima-Marin has paid his debt to society.
In his ruling, Samour said, "In effect, after its utter lack of care led to Lima-Marin's premature release and prolonged erroneous liberty, in January 2014 the government chose to compensate for its transgressions by swiftly turning back the clock and returning Lima-Marin to prison - not through the use of a magic wand or the invention of a time machine built out of a DeLorean, which might have transported him back to his life in April 2008, but through the simple issuance of an arrest warrant, which merely put him back in prison, disregarding everything that had transpired between April 2008 and January 2014".
Judge Samour noted that officials did not notice Lima-Marin was no longer in prison until 2014, when a former prosecutor did a search for the inmate's name on the Department of Corrections website.
Cuba generally only accepts deportations on a case-by-case basis so there's no guarantee Lima-Marin will be sent there.
Lima-Marin came to the United States from Cuba with his parents when he was a toddler during the 1980 Mariel boat lift, but he never applied for citizenship, his father, Eli Borges, told The Denver Post.
Rene Lima-Marin was sentenced to 98 years in prison for robbing two video stores in 1998, CNN reports. Another six years passed before authorities realized their error, and re-arrested him.
A Colorado inmate once released due to a mistake is getting freed again, and this time he's going back to a life he built the first time he was freed. "The family has shown incredible strength and we hope this is a temporary stop on his way to being reunited with his family". In prison, Lima-Marin said, he experienced a spiritual rebirth, cleaning up his act and working to cut out negative things from his life.
Denver immigration attorney Hans Meyer says he has been talking with the family and might take on the case pro bono.
"From there, there have been a series of federal policies that have changed including the wet-foot-dry-foot policy", Martinez says.
Last month, two lawmakers who normally don't see eye-to-eye- Democratic Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton and Republican Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs- sponsored a resolution that sought clemency for him.
Lima-Marin's history with the law began in 2000 when he was sentenced to two prison terms totaling 98 years for a pair of robberies he committed when he was a teenager.
ICE confirmed their detainer, forcing corrections staffers to turn over Lima-Marin over.
"You have to question the motives of ICE", Salazar told The Independent.
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