|Source||News for Social Justice Activists|
|Lawsuit Filed Over Man Deported and Lost in Mexico
Feb 27, 2008 5:49pm EST
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles man with mental
problems, who spent three months lost in Mexico after
being deported despite being a U.S. citizen, sued
homeland security and immigration officials on
Los Angeles-born Peter Guzman, 30, was deported to
Tijuana in May 2007 after serving time in jail for
trespassing. His family spent three months looking for
him in hospitals, jails, shelters and morgues in the
Guzman, described by his family as struggling with
basic reading, writing and memory, survived by begging,
washing in the Tijuana river and sleeping outdoors, the
"Immigration and Customs Enforcement put Peter Guzman
on a bus with $3 in his pocket and put him out in
Tijuana," said his lawyer, Jim Brosnahan. "With no
family or friends in Mexico, he broke down and thought
that his country had rejected him."
The California ICE office described Guzman's
deportation as an exception in the U.S. effort to deal
with an estimated 12 million, mostly Latino, illegal
immigrants thought to be living in the United States.
The lawsuit, which named Department of Homeland
Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and senior
immigration officials, was filed in federal court in
It alleges that Guzman's deportation was illegal, that
he was coerced into waiving his legal rights as a U.S.
citizen, and that immigration officials discriminated
against him because of his ethnicity.
ICE said in a statement that Guzman had repeatedly told
officials he was born in Mexico and had signed a
document agreeing to voluntary return.
"This is a one-of-a-kind case. Since ICE was created,
the agency's efforts have ensured that more than 1
million immigration violators have been removed or
returned to their home countries," the ICE statement
Guzman was reunited with his family in August 2007
after he was stopped by U.S. border agents while
crossing back into California.
In the past year, U.S. agents have stepped up
deportations and raids on suspected undocumented
workers while efforts to overhaul immigration policy
and offer a path to legal status have stalled in the
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Alan Elsner)
(c) Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.