Officials dismiss case of Ledyard woman whose DACA status expired
Immigration officials have dismissed the case of a Ledyard woman who was detained near the Canadian border after her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program status expired in May 2017.
Alejandra “Ali” Alvarado Montoya, a 22-year-old Mexican native who came to the United States with her mother in 2005, was accepted into DACA in 2013.
Launched by former President Barack Obama, the program allows some youths brought into the country illegally to live, work and go to school here. It doesn’t give them permanent resident status or put them on a path to citizenship.
Alvarado Montoya let her DACA status expire so she could apply for a green card through her husband, Nakai Northup, a U.S. citizen by birth.
Then she traveled with Northup and their daughter, Silvermist, to Massena, N.Y., where Northup was modeling in a photo shoot to help pay for the green card. The card costs 3,000 — 750 to stop removal and 3,274.
Alvarado Montoya, who has worked at least one part-time job for years, said it would have been hard if not impossible to save the money before her Dec. 18 court date without the community’s help.
She said she was nervous during the Hartford Immigration Court hearing because the prosecutor kept asking for more time. But the judge ultimately dismissed her case, and she has since applied for her green card.
“She was always going to be fine,” said her lawyer, Mary Foden, of the Hartford-based De Castro Foden firm. “She was always eligible for residency.”
Foden said she believes prosecutors should have used discretion in Alvarado Montoya’s case rather than forcing her to appear in court. But she also said she has handled similar cases where people eligible for residency were detained near the border and had to go to court to prove it.
“We’ve seen this before,” Foden said. “When you’re close to the border, you’re more likely to get detained.”
Foden said she expects Alvarado Montoya’s green card will be approved without issue. Once that happens, she’ll be eligible to apply for citizenship after three years, which will cost another $725.
Alvarado Montoya said she’s already saving.
“I see this as a great result from a Dreamer,” Foden said, using a common nickname for DACA recipients. “She certainly is the classic example. She has been here her entire life. She’s a hard worker. She’s a wonderful wife and mother.
“I’m glad she gets this chance.”