Latino journalist's deportation delayed after motion filed to re-open case

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Latino Journalist facing deportation is still holding on to hope that he will return to Memphis.

Right now immigration courts have granted Manuel Duran a stay, until a recent motion is ruled on.

The day before the MLK50 commemoration, Duran was working as a journalist, covering the protests outside 201 Poplar. During the round-up, officers took Duran into custody and booked him into jail.

The charges were later dropped, but it was too late, he was already reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Latino journalist Manuel Duran spent his days reporting the news for the Hispanic community in Memphis.

Now he’s locked up in Jena, Louisiana. People are still working for him on the outside though.

“The Southern poverty Law Center filed a motion to reopen with the Atlanta immigration court. That's the court that originally removed Manuel,” said Christina Swatzell, an attorney with Latino Memphis.

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Duran’s final order for removal was handed down in 2007. ICE said Duran has been living as an immigration fugitive for 11 years.

“There is this temporary stay of deportation while the motion is being reviewed,” said Swatzell.

Swatzell said Duran likely will likely wait in Louisiana a few more weeks, before a decision is made about the motion.

When a ruling does come down, it could be denied, and he could be deported back to El Savador. There is a chance Duran could be granted a new hearing, which his lawyers argue for in their motion.

“It was filed on two bases. Number one, on lack of notice. In other words, he did not receive proper notice of the court hearing (in 2007) in which he was ultimately ordered removed,” said Swatzell. “And the second is a marked change in the country conditions. Specifically, the growing hostility towards journalists in El Salvador.”

If the motion is granted, the case is re-opened, and Manuel could get have a bond.

In less than 48 hours supporters have raised more than $11,000 for the journalist.

“He has a very strong support system here in the community. So people are raising money in the event that he is eligible for bond. In the event that he has future legal fees to pay.”

His lawyers, who are not involved with the fundraiser, are hoping the money is needed. If not, and if Duran is deported, the fundraiser money will be used to fund other deportation cases legal funds, according to Swatzell.