American Citizen Held for 3 Days by ICE, Almost Deported

American Citizen Held for 3 Days by ICE, Almost Deported

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It is not only undocumented people that face deportation, under the Trump administration, anyone who has “Mexican features” could be under suspicion of having fake papers and could be deported.

A Chicago man who spent the weekend in jail and faced deportation on suspicion he is in the country illegally said what happened to him illustrates the need for America to change the way it deals with immigration, reported NBC Chicago.

Eduardo Caraballo said his nightmare began last week when he was arrested in connection with a stolen car case. He maintains his innocence and says it is still being investigated, but says the real problems began when his mother posted his bail Friday.

Instead of being released, he was told by authorities that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was detaining him because he was an illegal immigrant.

“That’s crazy. Because I was born in Puerto Rico. I never knew that Puerto Rico wasn’t part of the United States,” the 32-year-old said Monday.

Puerto Rico is in fact a territory of the U.S. and the people of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.

NBC continued with the details of the story: Caraballo said he repeatedly told officers that he was born in Puerto Rico and therefore an American citizen. His mother also presented his birth certificate, but despite that and his state-issued ID, officials told him he was facing deportation.

“I’m pretty sure they know that Puerto Ricans are citizens, but just because of the way I look — I have Mexican features — they pretty much assumed that my papers were fake,” he said. “They were making me feel like I can’t voice my opinion or I can’t even speak for myself to let them know that I am a citizen.”

He says officers asked him specific questions about the Caribbean island that he could not answer, mostly because he moved to the mainland when he was 8 months old and has only been back to Puerto Rico once since birth.

Almost three days later, and after his mother contacted Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s office, immigration officials released Caraballo at about 2 p.m. Monday.

ICE clearly could have verified that he was a U.S. citizen almost immediately if they wanted to, but they chose not to do it and to keep him caged.

Gutierrez, who is fighting for national immigration reform, is looking for answers to this ridiculous event.

“You know what this proves to you? That in Arizona, they want everybody to be able to prove they’re legally in the country. They want everybody to prove that they’re an American citizen. Here we had an American citizen, that the federal government, not state authorities, but the federal government, with all their technology and all their information capacity that they have, could not determine, for more than three days, his status as an American citizen. It’s very, very, very dangerous ground to tread,” the Chicago Democrat said.

ICE declined to answer specific questions about Caraballo’s case.

Caraballo said he is considering legal action and hopes his story is a lesson.

“Immigrations should analyze the way they judge people. They can’t just judge people by their color or their features, by the way they look, they should actually investigate thoroughly, and they should do that before they put the hold on somebody,” he said.

ICE is out of control. Now they are harassing U.S. citizens simply because they have Mexican features or skin tone. Trump continues to empower racism and it is showing in how ICE is acting even towards U.S. citizens.

(Article By Jeremiah Jones)

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