DENVER — Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today released the following statement regarding the pardon application for Ingrid Encalada LaTorre:
“Occasionally, a governor is faced with a decision with an answer that is clear but still painful. After careful review and with a heavy heart, I have decided to deny Ingrid Encalada LaTorre’s application for clemency. I did not come to this decision lightly. I spoke with her personally, and members of my team met with her and her attorney at length to ensure we had a full account of her case. I am moved by Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s dream of being an American and her extraordinarily hard work to support her family while she was here.
“At the same time, I must consider the impact of Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s crime on the victim, and most importantly, the precedent clemency would establish. Our country desperately needs comprehensive immigration reform that creates pathways for aspiring Americans like Ms. Encalada LaTorre to become productive, law-abiding citizens. But the crime that Ms. Encalada LaTorre committed was not victimless – far from it. Granting Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s application would compound the injustice of this unfortunate situation, and it would be a step backward in the fight for smart, compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform.
“The victim of this crime spent years dealing with the unlawful use of her Social Security number, suffering significant tax consequences and nearly losing government benefits she needed to support her own family. She opposes clemency for Ms. Encalada LaTorre. The victim is like thousands of others in this country who, through no fault of their own, face long-term consequences when someone commits this type of crime.
“Make no mistake: I disagree with many of the harsh immigration positions taken by the Trump administration, such as deporting law-abiding immigrants and ending DACA. Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s case, however, was handled consistently with practices in place since the Obama administration. Her crime rendered her ineligible for Cancellation of Removal under federal statute.
“I sympathize with Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s difficult circumstances and deeply regret the hardship she and her family may experience. But clemency is the wrong approach to fixing our broken immigration system. It cannot, on its own, stop the deportation process. It is up to Congress to respond, and I will continue to propose solutions and pressure Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.”
Further background on Ingrid Encalada LaTorre’s case
Ingrid Encalada LaTorre came to this country from Peru at age 17. She purchased a name and Social Security number in 2002 to secure employment. The name and Social Security number belonged to someone, and the matter was referred to criminal investigators. Ms. Encalada LaTorre was arrested for the crime in 2010 and pleaded guilty to Criminal Impersonation. She served more than four years of probation and paid full restitution to her victim.
Shortly after Ms. Encalada LaTorre’s arrest, the Obama administration began removal proceedings against her. Ms. Encalada LaTorre applied for Cancellation of Removal in 2011. That application was denied in 2015 because she was statutorily ineligible due to her conviction of Criminal Impersonation. She appealed this decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which affirmed in March 2016. She submitted a motion for post-conviction relief to the Jefferson County District Court where she had entered her guilty plea, alleging that she had received ineffective assistance of counsel because her attorneys did not adequately advise her of the immigration consequences of her guilty plea. After her period of voluntary departure converted to a final order of removal, she went into sanctuary in November of 2016. She applied for a stay of removal and renewed her motion for post-conviction relief in the Jefferson County District Court. She received a stay in May 2017. She came out of sanctuary and pressed her post-conviction motion. After an evidentiary hearing, District Court Judge Dennis Hall denied her motion on August 29, finding that her attorneys had zealously advocated for her and informed her of the possible immigration consequences of her guilty plea.