Colorado's governor on Friday pardoned a Cuban immigrant who had been mistakenly freed from prison, returned and then set free this week. He was then held by immigration authorities for deportation.
A toddler when his parents entered the U.S., Rene Lima-Marin was part of the 1980 Mariel boatlift. He was a legal resident of the United States. But after his conviction in an armed robbery case in 2000, that was revoked.
Lima-Marin had initially been mistakenly released from Colorado state prison on parole in 2008. He married and worked regularly installing glass. The authorities sent him back to prison in 2014. This week a judge ruled that Lima-Marin deserved to be released.
But before he could return to his family, ICE detained him, citing the deportation order from 2000. His lawyers said a pardon was his only chance to stave off deportation.
"This was a question of justice," Gov. John Hickenlooper told an afternoon news conference, noting that 98 of the 100 members of the state Assembly had backed a motion calling for Lima-Marin's pardon. "This was a pretty clear example of someone who's done all the work necessary to earn a second chance."