Sunday, July 21, 2024

Puerto Rican Man Threatened with Deportation “Back to Mexico”

Eduardo Caraballo, a resident of Chicago who was born in Puerto Rico, was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) late last week following an arrest over an alleged stolen car case that is still being investigated.

After his mother posted bail for the car incident, Caraballo was told by immigration officials that he was being detained because he was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Despite his statements that he was Puerto Rican and his mother bringing his birth certificate and state-issued identification to officials, ICE maintained that he was in the country illegally.

Immigration authorities questioned his statements and the documents’ validity reiterating that he faced deportation “back” to Mexico.  Caraballo moved to the US mainland when he was only eight months old and has visited Puerto Rico only once since then, so he was unable to answer specific questions about the island when asked by ICE.

After three days in detention, he was released only after his mother was able to contact Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) about her son’s plight.

Gutierrez has been one of the most outspoken and active Members of Congress on the need for comprehensive immigration reform. He made a link between Caraballo’s plight and what is happening in Arizona.

“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… could not determine, for more than three days, his status as an American citizen. It’s very, very, very dangerous ground to tread.”

Caraballo, who is considering legal action, has said of his ordeal, “Immigrations (sic) should analyze the way they judge people. They can’t just judge people by their color or their features, by the way they look, they should actually investigate thoroughly, and they should do that before they put the hold on somebody.”


Huffington Post