OXFORD — Martin Duron-Esparza’s last-ditch effort to avoid deportation has been rejected by a federal judge.
This afternoon, U.S. District Judge Mike Mills agreed with government attorneys that he lacked jurisdiction to intervene in the longtime Greenwood resident’s immigration case.
Barring some last-minute development, the 36-year-old undocumented Mexican immigrant is expected to pack up with his wife and five children and comply with the order of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to leave the country by Thursday.
Duron-Esparza had asked Mills to grant a temporary restraining order based on the argument that his deportation would also result in the forced deportation of his U.S.-citizen children. Four of Duron-Esparza’s children were born in the United States.
Mills denied the request and also dismissed the case.
Although an appeal is possible, it is not likely, according to Jim Waide, the Tupelo attorney who represented Duron-Esparza at today’s hearing.
Duron-Esparza, who works as a contractor on irrigation pivots, first entered the United States in 1997 at the age of 16. He has been attempting to regularize his immigration status since 2008. He received yearly work permits until June 2016, when his request for a renewal was denied.
Since ICE agents made a surprise visit to his home in Greenwood on April 10, Duron-Esparza and his supporters have unsuccessfully appealed to ICE to consider his good standing in the community and his lack of a criminal record, other than his illegal border crossings. Last week, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D.-Miss., the ranking member on the House committee that oversees ICE, asked the agency to allow Duron-Esparza to stay pending the resolution of the undocumented worker’s appeal for legal status. That request apparently had no effect as well.