Deportee was a U.S. citizen

By Malena Amusa Aug 09, 2007

Just yesterday I had the scary thought that one of my close friends who has a Muslim name could be deported. This was because I Googled him and another man with his name was on record for committing some money fraud. Letter for letter, I was looking at my friend’s name. And the creepy thought came to me: what if my friend, an African immigrant, is treated like a criminal because he shares a name with one. So I called my friend and talked about this and we joked about it for a while. Then today, a co-worker sent me this AP story about an American citizen who was wrongly deported, and after three months missing, was returned, traumatized and shattered. This made me realize that my fears yesterday were real. Everyday, documented and undocumented people are being detained and face deportation. In this case, the deported man, though returned, will never be the same. The Associated Press reported:

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 7 — A wrongly deported U.S. citizen who was missing for nearly three months in Mexico ate out of garbage cans, bathed in rivers and was repeatedly turned away by U.S. border agents when he tried to return to California, his family said Tuesday. Pedro Guzman, 29, was picked up at the Calexico border crossing over the weekend. He was released to his family on Tuesday. Guzman was shaking and stuttering and appeared traumatized, his family said at a news conference. Family members said they plan to seek medical attention for Guzman, who was not at tnews conference. "They took him whole but only returned half of him to me," his mother, Maria Carbajal, said in Spanish while crying. "The government is responsible for this." The family had been searching for Guzman in Tijuana since he was deported on May 11. They said Guzman told them on Tuesday that he had tried to return to the United States several times but was turned away. Authorities and the family have presented conflicting versions of how Guzman was deported.