Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How ICE Deported Another US Citizen, Andres Robles Still In Mexico



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.

In jail,
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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

USCIS Says ICE Deported US Citizen, Andres Robles Still Stuck in Mexico




Andres Robles is celebrating his 22d birthday today in Mexico and not with his parents in Thibodaux, Louisiana because the U.S. government once again deported a U.S. citizen.

Instead of following the law that says U.S. citizens cannot be detained, much less deported, the government is channeling Kafka.

The letter Mr. Robles received over a month ago care of his attorney Lawrence Fabacher speaks for itself:
Dear Mr. Robles,

Your N-600 Application for a Certificate of Citizenship was approved on June 15, 20011 [sic]. You derive [sic] citizenship on June 13, 2002, when your father became a naturalized citizen of the United States. However, since you were deported from the United States, we are unable to complete the N-600 application process and provide you with a certificate of citizenship.

Upon your return to the United States, please make an appointment at the USCIS office closest to your current location. At that time, the local office will be able to assist you in obtaining your certificate of citizenship....

We have papers that will authorize your presence inside the Castle, Mr. Robles. But since we mistakenly threw you out of the Castle, you may not obtain them. Once you enter the Castle, we will be happy to provide you papers that will authorize your entry.

Mr. Robles is not without assistance. His attorney, Lawrence Fabacher, reached out to the Oakdale, Louisana ICE offices. ICE told Mr. Fabacher that Mr. Robles would have to resolve this matter at the U.S. consulate in Mexico. Andres' father flew down to Mexico and met his son at the U.S. consular office in Matamoros, a border city that is a 12 hour bus ride from Andres' current home with his grandmother in a small village 40 mountainous miles north of Puerto Vallarta.

When we spoke by phone yesterday, Mr. Robles said that the consular officer told them they did not issue "that kind of passport" and refused to assist him.

Andres' sister Maria, 26, also a U.S. citizen, told me that when her parents shared with her the results of their trip to the consular office over two weeks ago they were all devastated, "It's like the world's coming down on our shoulders. They were crying. He's growing up without us. I try to help them but I feel so useless."

Maria had in fact managed to track down someone in the U.S. Consular Office in Nuevo Laredo who followed up on her concerns and induced someone in the State Department in Washington, D.C. to call Andres. Andres told me, "He asked me all the questions you are asking: where I first crossed, the first time I crossed over, how old I was and all of that, where I went to school. They told me he would call me back and get me my passport, that I could pick it up at a border crossing."

But no one ever called back and the number he had for the individual with whom he spoke two weeks ago was a nonworking number with an area code for Trinidad and Tobago, perhaps the result of a transcription error.

Happy birthday, Andres. Hang in there. Wouldn't it be a nice present if the guy from the State Department called back today! You told me that you thought you'd been there since New Year's Eve, 2009, but I just checked and the immigration judge you think deported you, John Duck at Oakdale, ordered your removal on December 16, 2008, a week after the adjudicator William Cassidy ordered Mark Lyttle's deportation unlawful deportation.

I will post more on how Andres came to be deported early next week.

And I will also report any response to this from ICE or the State Department, though I am not holding my breath. ICE ignored U.S. citizen and ex-Marine Geoge Ibarra's privacy waiver instructing the government to share information with me about his unlawful detention and deportations, even though ICE spokesperson Vincent Picard assured me that this would be forthcoming. (ICE ignored Mr. Ibarra's probative evidence of U.S. citizenship, i.e., an immigration judge finding he was a U.S. citizen!, and continued to hold him for several months while it filed its appeal, releasing him without explanation only after I wrote about this and major news outlets were arranging interviews with Mr. Ibarra at the Eloy Detention Center.)

This most recent episode of ICE silence on its malfeasance confirms that ICE under the Obama administration is misusing funding Congress appropriated for providing public information and is instead devoting these resources to its propaganda machine and hiding from the American people the practices it is using to unlawfully detain and deport U.S. citizens and other residents.

A research article on this topic, "US Government Unlawfully Detaining and Deporting US Citizens" will be appearing shortly in the University of Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, vol 18 (3).
 
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