Rene Lima-Marin has won a “major victory” in his unusual legal battle, according to his attorney: After being freed from prison and pardoned by Gov. John Hickenlooper, he will be allowed to fight for his right to stay in the United States.
Lima-Marin was mistakenly released from prison in 2008, only eight years into his 98-year sentence for an armed robbery case. He was returned to prison in 2014, then freed again this year by a judge.
He was almost immediately picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as he tried to return to his wife and two children. Because he is a legal permanent resident, and not a citizen, the felony conviction makes him eligible for deportation.
Hickenlooper then pardoned Lima-Marin of his crimes in an attempt to bolster the man’s immigration case. But with a deportation order pending, it seemed likely Lima-Marin would be sent back to Cuba, a country he left at age 2.
However, he got a new reason for hope on July 31, when an immigration judge withdrew the order of removal and allowed Lima-Marin to reopen the case, according to the Meyer Law Office.
“Today, we achieve a significant victory in a hard-fought battle, and while the war to keep Rene here with his family is not yet over, we are on the right side of history,” attorney Hans Meyer said in a written release.
Lima-Marin’s first hearing in the new immigration case was expected to happen this afternoon.