September 9, 2007

Update on the U.S. citizen who was deported and went missing in Mexico

Posted in Civil rights, News at 9:06 pm by The Lizard Queen

I blogged about this back in June: Pedro Guzman, a mentally disabled U.S. citizen, was deported and, at the point at which I wrote about the story, had been missing in Mexico for over a month. That post has gotten a couple of hits recently, so I decided to revisit the story, see if there have been any developments. The good news is that in early August, after being missing for nearly three months, Guzman turned up at a border crossing. The bad news is that even though the government had admitted Guzman was a citizen, and made various promises accordingly, they didn’t exactly kill a fatted calf upon his return:

Border agents detained Mr. Guzman as he attempted to cross into the U.S. near Calexico early Sunday morning. County officials had issued a warrant for his failure to appear at probation hearings, despite attempts by the family and ACLU/SC to explain to probation officials that he had been wrongfully deported. The government had promised to immediately notify the family and their attorneys if it found Mr. Guzman. Instead, it took 36 hours for the family to be notified.

Mr. Guzman spent two days in jail before Superior Court Judge Carlos Chung ordered him released Tuesday morning.

In spite of the fact that, like I said, the government admitted that Guzman is indeed a citizen, they’re continuing to maintain that he was deported legally, a stance I can’t help but be disgusted by. They deported a U.S. citizen, and while it may have been simply an honest mistake, the actions that have been taken (or haven’t been taken) since the mistake was revealed have been inexcusable. The warrant is ridiculous, and the particularly disheartening aspect of it is the question of whether or not anyone would even have noticed Guzman was back? In other words, did the government do as a judge requested, and send “a ‘lookout,’ or missing persons report . . . to U.S. ports of entry and the U.S. consulate in Tijuana stat[ing] that he is a citizen and mention[ing] his disability”? Doesn’t particularly sound like it. Not particularly heartening news for anyone who’s fond of his or her civil liberties.

More here.


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