American Citizen Detained As Illegal Immigrant
Eduardo Caraballo faced deportation and spent a weekend in jail because authorities refused to believe he was actually born in Puerto Rico.
…his self-described nightmare began last week when he was arrested in connection with a stolen car case. He maintains his innocence and says the car case is still being investigated, but says the real problems began when his mother posted his bail Friday.
Instead of being released, he was told by authorities that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was detaining him because he was an illegal immigrant.
Officers tried to ask him questions about the Caribbean island, but he couldn’t answer them because he left there when he was eight months old.
Caraballo said he repeatedly told officers that he was born in Puerto Rico and therefore an American citizen. His mother also presented his birth certificate, but despite that and his state-issued ID, officials told him he was facing deportation.
“I’m pretty sure they know that Puerto Ricans are citizens, but just because of the way I look — I have Mexican features — they pretty much assumed that my papers were fake,” he said. “They were making me feel like I can’t voice my opinion or I can’t even speak for myself to let them know that I am a citizen.”
Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez came to Caraballo’s aid and helped deal with the authorities.
“You know what this proves to you? That in Arizona, they want everybody to be able to prove they’re legally in the country. They want everybody to prove that they’re an American citizen. Here we had an American citizen, that the federal government, not state authorities, but the federal government, with all their technology and all their information capacity that they have, could not determine, for more than three days, his status as an American citizen. It’s very, very, very dangerous ground to tread,” the Chicago Democrat said.Click here for reuse options!
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