Since 2003, at least 20,000 U.S. citizens have been detained and even thousands more deported. Here are just a few Latinos who were detained and sent to a country that wasn’t their own.
George Ibarra is a Gulf War marine veteran who was deported twice in the span of 15 years.
President Obama has deported over 2 million people – more than any other president in U.S. history! #DeporterInChief The overwhelming majority of the cases involve people who committed minor infractions, (such as street vending or driving without a license) or had no criminal record at all. #not1more #immigration #stopdeportations #dumptrump
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Ibarra was arrested and given the option of self-deportation in order to spend less time at an immigration center, which he took. What he didn’t know was that although he and his mother moved from Nogales, Mexico, to Phoenix, Ariz., when he was a baby, his grandparents were U.S. citizens, which qualified him for “derived citizenship.”
Blanca Maria Alfaro was born in Texas, but moved to El Salvador when she was 4. She was still detained.
She was deported in 1998 to El Salvador from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City after immigration officials refused to believe her. While in El Salvador, she went to the U.S. Embassy to explain her situation. They sided with her. That didn’t solve the problem. She was later detained and deported again in 2005. Finally, in 2013, the U.S. State Department determined that Alfaro was a citizen after all.
Mark Lyttle was born in North Carolina and has a history of mental illness. He was detained and deported to Mexico in 2008.
Mark Lyttle grew up floating from foster home to foster home. He was deported to Mexico and was later found by a worker from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala wandering around Central America. The U.S. government admitted their error and gave him a $175,000 settlement for his troubles.
Andres Robles Gonzalez was detained by ICE in 2007 while he was living in New Orleans — despite being a U.S. citizen.
In 2011, he was finally allowed to return to the U.S. The federal government payed him $350,000 in damages.
In 2007, Pedro Guzman, a 29 year-old developmentally disabled man from Los Angeles was wrongfully deported for allegedly spraying graffiti at an airplane junkyard.
Guzman spent 89 days roaming around Baja California, eating garbage, washing in rivers and avoiding human interaction before he was found. According to the LA Times, many of his family members quit their jobs to look for him and spent all of their savings in the process. In August of that year, he was finally returned to his family.
Sigifredo Saldana Iracheta, a laborer from South Texas, was born to a white father and a Mexican mother. Despite being a U.S. citizen, Iracheta was deported four times, and spent two years in a restrictive detention center.
It wasn’t until the fifth time that he applied for a certificate of citizenship that the government finally listened to the fact that Iracheta was actually a U.S. citizen.
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