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Advocates Applaud U.S. Attorney Hickton for Delivering Justice, Urge Eric Holder to Follow Hickton’s Lead
After a hard fought public campaign to reunite him with his U.S. citizen children, 24-year Ohio resident Jose Alfredo Ramos Gallegos received justice today.
As Lisa Thompson of the Erie Times-News reports:
U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton has filed a motion to dismiss an illegal re-entry charge against an Ohio man whose case triggered an immigration rights rally in Erie in March. Hickton said in the motion only that the dismissal of the felony charge against Alfredo Ramos Gallegos would be ‘in the interests of justice.’
Said Veronica Dahlberg, Executive Director of HOLA Ohio and the leader of this community effort, said:
Thank you, Attorney Hickton, for delivering justice to the Ramos family. We are truly grateful that Alfredo can now work and live in peace and without fear of being labeled a ‘criminal.’ This man is a good father, has no criminal record and is an upstanding model citizen in the Painesville, Ohio, community. He’s exactly the type of person we should be welcoming with open arms, not locking up behind bars, and we’re overjoyed that Attorney Hickton saw that in this case. Let’s hope that U.S. Attorney Eric Holder follows Hickton’s lead and stops prosecuting the thousands of other immigrants in proceedings whose only crime was trying to reunite with their family.
Attorney David Leopold, Alfredo’s immigration lawyer, said:
Clearly, Attorney Hickton took a look at the equities in this case, saw that this man has been here for two decades, paid his taxes, raised children who are U.S. citizens, and has been a provider for an American family. Hickton did the right thing by dismissing this case, and I hope this same wisdom will prevail with Eric Holder and the Department of Justice.
“While the Department of Homeland Security has been under fire for years because of its deportation policies, the Department of Justice has flown under the radar,” said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice. “When I look at Alfredo I see a 24-year resident of Ohio; father of two U.S. citizen children and stepfather of one; respected member of the community; and victim of racial profiling by police. Until today, when the Justice Department looked at Alfredo they saw a ‘felon.’ We’re heartened to see Hickton to do justice in this case, but we need Eric Holder to follow his example.”
Alfredo was referred to the Border Patrol after Mentor, OH police stopped a car he was riding in on February 8, 2014. He has lived in the U.S. for 24 years, since he was 16, and deported nearly 14 years ago. His U.S. citizen ex-wife, who was nine months pregnant with their first child at the time, urged him to return. Since then, Alfredo has lived peacefully in the U.S., taking care of his family, with no arrests or other problems.
Read more about this in Lynn Tramonte’s op-ed in The Hill, “Stop persecuting immigrants,” HERE.