When Jonas De La Luz Jeronimo was picked up by the feds in North Carolina, his lawyer knew he needed to get to Jeronimo’s 4-year-old daughter. Jeronimo, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, had four traffic violations on his record in the United States, where he had lived for more than 10 years. To keep Jeronimo in the country, his defense would need to prove that deporting him would cause his U.S. citizen daughter to suffer “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.” But Jeronimo was in the middle of a custody battle with the girl’s mother, who wouldn’t allow his lawyer any contact with the child.
“We had no access,” says Jeremy McKinney, head of the law firm representing Jeronimo.
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