Gov. Jared Polis on Monday announced he has pardoned undocumented immigrant Ingrid Encalada Latorre, a Peruvian woman who had fought deportation and has spent the last two years in sanctuary, from felony charges related to a stolen Social Security number that she had purchased to work in the country. Losing those charges was a prerequisite for her to re-open her immigration case and ask an immigration judge to de-prioritize her deportation order.
“Well of course, I am very happy. I am here busy with my kids right now,” she told Denverite in Spanish on Monday afternoon.
Hours later, she got a chance to say a bit more inside the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, where she was greeted by a full house of supporters. Latorre has been living in sanctuary there for the last several months, according to the Daily Camera.
Latorre will be staying at the church for the time being as she explores permanent residency options. She said she’s not sure how much longer she will stay there, though she said she knows she can return home at any time.
She thanked the governor and her supporters around Colorado.
“I know my life is going to change now,” Latorre said in English.
“Now I can return home and be with my family,” she continued in Spanish, holding back tears. “It’s what I wished for so many months and years, for the doors to open for me, because everything had been blocked. This is a great surprise, today, to receive this pardon.”
Latorre said her federal immigration case remains open and her attorneys will make an appeal.
She was among five people pardoned by Polis; three additional people received commutations. Latorre was denied a pardon by former Gov. John Hickenlooper as he finished his term in 2017.
“Clemencies are a tremendous responsibility given to a governor that can change a person’s life,” Polis said in a statement. “These decisions were not taken lightly and were made after careful consideration of each individual case. These are people looking for a second chance and the opportunity to move beyond the mistakes from their past. They have taken important steps to turn their lives around and shown remorse for their actions.”
Latorre had a prior felony identify theft conviction in Jefferson County in 2010. In his pardon letter to Latorre, Polis wrote he was granting Latorre’s request because she showed a commitment “to moving past your conviction and starting out anew while taking with you lessons you have learned throughout your life.”
He noted Latorre has completed probation, paid restitution and back taxes, and is now working to educate others.
Latorre came to the United States when she was 17 and now has three children. Polis said in his pardon letter that, while he does not have the authority to affect her citizenship status, he hopes the pardon won’t stand in her way toward gaining lawful residency.
Interim Minister Rev. Eric Posa said Latorre is welcome to stay at the church for as much time as she needs.
“This does not mark the end of her time residing with us in sanctuary,” Posa said. “We are honored to continue to welcome Ingrid and her family.”
Latorre was joined on the church’s lectern by one of her children, Bryant. Like his mother, he took a second to share a message to the governor.
“Thank you, Governor Polis,” he said, prompting applause.