Utah Artist Facing Deportation

Utah Artist Facing Deportation

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

John Daley ReportingThe family of a prominent Latino artist in Utah is scrambling to stop him from being deported to Mexico. The man is married to an American citizen and his wife calls it all a big mistake.

Guillermo Colmenero is in the Weber County jail. A judge ordered him to be deported, but his attorney is trying to reopen the case. Meantime, he and his wife, also an artist, are in limbo.

Utah Artist Facing Deportation

31-year-old Guillermo Colmenero is one of Utah's most promising young artists. He's won awards and recognition, was featured in a City Weekly cover story earlier this year, and is gaining promenience for his sculptures, including "Day of the Dead" figures commemorating a key Mexican holiday.

Carol Edison, Folk Arts Program Manager, Utah Arts Council: "Guillermo is an incredible artist. We've known him for five or six years now and just been blown away by his work. He's absolutely the best Day of the Dead artist I have ever seen."

Utah Artist Facing Deportation

But he's now in jail, awaiting deportation to his native Mexico.

Marla Colmenero: "We're asking for help. Whatever people can do. First and primary thing are the prayers."

Marla, Colmenero's wife, is an American citizen. He came to the US 12 years ago and she says he's a temporary resident who wants to become a citizen. However, a judge denied his permanent resident application because of a 1995 conviction for possession of 12 ounces of marijuana, something his wife says was a youthful mistake.

Marla Colmenero: "Because of this situation, that's why it's taken nine years."

Utah Artist Facing Deportation

The family maintains they never got word of the judge's ruling and therefore missed a later hearing, after which the judge ordered Colmenero deported.

A spokesperson for the federal immigration agency, ICE, says "he is here illegally," and that "close to 600,000 people who've received deportation orders failed to comply."

In the short term,Colmenero's life is in limbo. His family has hired a new attorney and hopes they can get the deportation order lifted.

Marla Colmenero: "If it changes, you know we lose a whole community of friends and family and we want to stay here in Utah. We want to stay here. Memo has a lot to lose if he has to go back to his country, but I think Utah has a lot to lose as well."

Colmenero is expected to remain in the Weber County jail until his next court hearing, which is expected in a few weeks. Meantime, family and frieds are raising funds and have begun a letter writing campaign on his behalf.

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast