When Flavio Musmanno lost his wallet back in late August, he received a call a few hours later that someone had found it. Musmanno met up with the caller to retrieve his wallet but was confronted by immigration authorities who handcuffed and arrested by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent. On Oct. 9, he was deported back to Argentina. His family told the Miami New Times that he has never been arrested and has no criminal record.
North Miami Beach dad Flavio Musmanno has been deported back to Argentina.
Originally from Argentina, Musmanno is married to an American citizen and the father of a U.S. born son. He’d been living in North Miami on an expired visa after moving to the U.S. almost 20 years ago. He was away from home working construction jobs when he was detained by ICE in Ohio. Musmanno and his wife have filed a petition asking for a green card for him, since his wife is a U.S. citizen.
Before being deported, Musmanno was given enough time to post a note of thanks on Facebook.
“Kind family and friends. I have two minutes to give thanks to everyone for everything you have done for me. Today, they are deporting me to Argentina. I lost this battle but I promise that I have not lost the war. I love you all for real. I am very sad today but with the help of my beautiful family and friends and I will overcome. I can even write how much I love you all. Thank you again.”
His stepdaughter said ICE agents never identified themselves on the phone and portrayed themselves as “good people trying to return his wallet.”
— Ann Toback (@AToback) October 9, 2018
When Musmanno lost the wallet, it contained a couple of credit cards, an expired ID, and $40.
“When I found out what was in the wallet, I was like, ‘Oh, Dad, why did you go?'” Musmanno’s stepdaughter Paola told The New Times. “There was no phone number in the wallet. You wouldn’t go meet strangers who found you like that, right?”
In April, ICE had begun deporting even people who were married to U.S. citizens, including at interviews required to get marriage-based green cards. According to Bloomberg, ICE arrests of people without criminal records have increased 66 percent just this year but arrests of people with criminal records increased just two percent.
Musmanno and his family now have to start the lengthy and expensive process of getting their father and husband back to the U.S.
This is new one! ICE found a lost wallet belonging to an expired Visa holder w pending family based green card appl. Cunningly they called him pretending to be good Samaritans returning wallet, only 2 arrest him & speed up his deportation when he showed up https://t.co/LEiF9BZWeZ
— Nicolette Glazer (@NicoletteGlazer) October 9, 2018
ICE agents in Ohio are known for being particularly aggressive in their deportation tactics. Back in June, ICE agents conducted one of their biggest raids in history on a large gardening operation in Salem, Ohio.
“They just want to deport him,” Paola told The New Times. “They won’t tell us anything else. We sent them the petition he filed, but they just ignored it and keep saying they’re going to deport him. And things are not good where we came from — if people find out he was living in Miami, they might think he has money and try to rob him or kidnap him.”