Thursday, July 4, 2013

Deported U.S. Citizen Andres Robles Files $1.5 million Claim Against ICE

From sworn statement of Andres Robles, October 9, 2008
 taken by ICE agents interviewing Robles in a Thibodeaux, Louisiana jail; 
released June, 2013 
Documents recently released to me under the Freedom of Information Act confirm what Andres told me over the summer of 2011 while he was hiding from gang violence at his grandmother's home in Mexico.  He explained then that he told the ICE agents and the immigration judge, John Duck in Oakdale, Louisiana, that he was United States citizen, but they failed to check and deported him anyway. 

Ozment Law Files Complaint for $1.5 million
Andrew Free, an attorney with Ozment Law in Nashville, Tennessee, read about Andres's plight on this blog a few months ago.  Ozment Law then went down to Louisiana to meet Andres. (Ozment Law also has been representing me in FOIA litigation.)
On the occasion of filing on June 28, 2013 a claim demanding the government pay Andres for his illegal arrest and detention, false imprisonment,malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional duress, and wrongful deportation under the Federal Tort Claim Act, Elliot Ozment stated,
Now is the time for the United States to make amends for its mistreatment of Andres and his family, and take immediate measures to prevent it from ever happening again. Just as important, our nation's insatiable deportation machine must immediately conduct a top-to-bottom review to explain why it keeps detaining, kidnapping, and banishing its own citizens -- who are predominantly men, women, and children of color. This troubling practice must stop. And until it does Andres, his family and thousands who are similarly situated will work to hold government officials accountable.
Andres's older sister Maria has been the force behind making sure the government's cruel treatment of her brother and others is not forgotten. Shortly after she heard about the claim being filed I asked her what she hoped to obtain from this. "Mainly to get him justice. The attorneys will get the attention of the people who are doing all this. They need to do more research instead of taking the easy way out." Forensics of a Wrongful Deportation In 2008, Andres Robles, then 19, was falsely imprisoned and then banished from the United States after the government ignored his sworn statement that he was a U.S. citizen. The document has several anomalies, contradictions, and inaccuracies. PARENTS ARE AND ARE NOT UNITED STATES CITIZENS In one place it shows his parents are both U.S. citizens
while another section in the same document states they both were legal residents:

 ICE also ignored the information in its own TECS database indicating that Andres was born in Mexico and that he was a United States citizen.

When we spoke around noon today he was looking forward to Maria joining him at his parents where the family was planning a July Fourth celebration on Andres's day off from working on an oyster boat. He pointed out that for him the trauma of the deportation is still ongoing. Speaking somewhat haltingly, at pains to describe a situation that defies explanation, he told me, "I can't get my driver's license because they ask for the social security card. But I can't get the social security card. I've been down there five times and it still doesn't come. They ask me who filled out the form and then they send it again. The last time they asked me who did it and it was the person who asked me."

The folks at the social security office can't tell him why the social security card isn't there, but I bet the folks at ICE could.  The same TECS database that correctly indicated in 2008 Robles's US citizenship now lists him as a citizen of Mexico, a date that would have been seen by whoever consulted it in 2012, presumably proximate to one of the time frames when Andres was trying to obtain his social security card.  
Robles is shocked and deeply grateful to attorney Free and his colleagues at Ozment Law for taking this on, "I didn't expect this.  It's pretty exciting."
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