Andres Robles, 22, has a letter from US Citizenship and Immigration Services sent on June 15, 2011 stating he "derive[d] citizenship on June 13, 2002, when your father became a naturalized citizen of the United States." But the letter, under the Department of Homeland Security official insignia, is no protection against the armed gangs that roam San Isidro in Apozol, Zacatecas, where he's been staying with his grandmother since he was wrongfully deported when he was 19:
There's a lot of shooting, mafias. They do decapitations. The police don't really do nothing about it. They had a fair but no one went because of the mafia picking up people.A post last week describes the absurd failures of the U.S. government to rectify it's admitted errors, including how the consular officers in Matamoros are failing to protect a U.S. citizen from the dangers described above.
The post here describes how this happened.
Andres, who speaks with a slight Louisiana drawl and understood little Spanish before his deportation, was ordered removed from his country on December 16, 2008 by an adjudicator he believes is John Ducks from the Oakdale Immigration Court because of the following miscarriages of justice and the law.
1) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in the jail where he was first interviewed and then at what sounds like the regional Criminal Alien Program subfield office ignored his statements asserting U.S. citizenship because they didn't believe him, in the first place, and because, in the second, investigating them would be too much of a bureaucratic hassle.
They [ICE] asked me if I had my papers and stuff, and at that time I didn't have an ID. I was 17. I didn't have any type of ID. I told him I had a father who is a US citizen and he said, 'Really, do you?' I told him, yeah. But he had a face like, yeah, right, like he didn't believe me.This was at the Terribone Juvenile Detention Center, where ICE is busy deporting teenage US citizens.
At the small office where Andres was taken in 2008 after he finished his jail sentence, he again told the agent interviewing him that his father was a US citizen and he believed he also could be a US citizen:
I told them right there, too, about my father, and they said they would look into it. I remember they were going to show it to the main person there, but he didn't agree. They said just take him up to the jail. The person talking was a young person. He was alright, telling me what was going on. That's how I know the main officer there didn't agree, said it was too much paperwork.The guy running the office knew that ICE was not allowed to detain US citizens, but simply ignored the plea to check the USCIS database. A few minutes of searching would have verified not only the US citizenship of Mr. Robles' father, but also the names and ages of his children, an easy means of confirming that the person in their custody was indeed the same person who had derived US citizenship when his father naturalized in 2002 and therefore should not be in deportation proceedings.
2) During the hearing the adjudicator ignored Andres and his attorney failed to appear telephonically twice. The first time, no one was available when the adjudicator called the law offices and the second time, a secretary appears to have participated by telephone instead of the attorney.
Mr. Robles' father hired an attorney who then failed to appear in the telephonic hearing, and instead designated his secretary to take the call from the immigration judge and simply agree to the deportation.
I told him [John Duck, Andres believes] that my father was a U.S. citizen. He didn't say much. I think he said it was too late to say that. They were just talking among themselves with the DA [the IJ, the immigration attorney's secretary, and the ICE trial attorney]. They asked me if I wanted to fight the case and everything, and I said not really, because I didn't want to stay another year in jail. So I got deported.According to Maria Robles, Andres' older sister, the current attorney, Lawrence Fabacher, and her father have been faxing and calling the office of this attorney to request the file. "He's in hiding. He just ignores everyone. He's an attorney. He should have taken care of this. He basically just stole our money." Maria also told me that the secretary who appeared on behalf of the attorney quit because she didn't approve of how he ran his business.
(I left messages today at the two offices for Andres' first attorney, someone who runs one of those places that promises to sue for your back injury and help you immigrate. I will publish his name after he has a chance to respond to their allegations.)
[UPDATE August 30: The attorney Andres Robles' family hired and whose actions are described above is Rigeur Silva; he also ignored my several phone messages left with his receptionists in two offices, voice mail messages, and email messages seeking comment on these claims.]
3) ICE and the State Department's Consular Services are doing nothing to rectify their error.
When Mark Lyttle was deported, the consular office in Guatemala City contacted his family and within six hours had issued him a U.S. passport. Consular Affairs spokesperson Rebecca Dodds was not familiar with the deportation of US citizens and was very surprised when I told her about the expeditious treatment of Mark Lyttle, suggesting that official protocols would have required he wait much longer, though providing no information on these. "If someone comes into the consulate and speaks with an American accent and doesn't have the papers, then we would do what it takes to assist them." She refused to comment on why this did not occur in the Matamoros consular office because I did not have a privacy waiver and she is "never allowed to speak about a U.S. citizen," a status the State Department will assert only for the purpose of denying information about inept consular officers, as opposed to recognizing as a slam dunk acknowledgement that Andres should be allowed to return.
(Since USCIS has issued a letter to Andres signed by Jonathan Crawford verifying his US citizenship, there is no reason it should take more than a few minutes or hours at the most to verify the letter's authenticity by phone or email. If consular officer Maria Alvarado, who handled Mark Lyttle's passport in the Guatemala City, were in Matamoros, Andres Robles would be with his parents in Louisiana today.)
As usual, ICE has no response to queries about the agency's ongoing civil rights violations committed against U.S. citizens who appear to be of Mexican descent, other than spokesperson Ernestine Fobbs assuring me she is pursuing one.
Ms. Fobbs said she also was the person who was not responding to my earlier inquiries about the deportation, detention, and release of Marine and U.S. citizen George Ibarra over two months ago, even though the ICE Arizona spokesperson and my point of contact for that story was Vincent Picard. Ms. Fobbs claims to be still working on that but will provide no timeline for a response.