USA Today reports that last week, the spouse of a U.S. soldier who was killed in Afghanistan was deported by immigration officials, leaving behind the couple’s 12-year-old daughter. The decision was quickly reversed on Monday and the deported man was allowed to return to the U.S.
Jose Gonzalez Carranza, 30, was married to Army Pfc Barbara Vierya, 22, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan on September 18, 2010.
Gonzalez Carranza was arrested last Monday on his way to work and deported to Nogales, Sonora on Thursday. When the decision was reversed, he re-entered the U.S. through the DeConcini port of entry in Nogales, Arizona, where he was then driven back to Phoenix by ICE officials.
Although ICE officials did not explain their decision to allow him back into the U.S., Ezequiel Hernandez, Gonzalez Carranza’s lawyer, thinks the media attention the deportation received was an important part of it.
Gonzalez Carranza said that during his deportation, he lived in a shelter for deported migrants in Nogales, Mexico. He was worried about his daughter, Evelyn, who is a U.S. citizen. He did not tell her that he was deported because he was afraid to traumatize her after the death of her mother.
"There are plenty of people you can go after but not a guy whose wife died in Afghanistan," Hernandez said.
Gonzalez Carranza said he came to the U.S. illegally in 2004 from Veracruz, Mexico. He married Vierya in 2007. When his wife died, he was given a parole in place. This allows illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. without the threat of deportation.
Hernandez explains that an immigration judge terminated the deportation based on the parole in place, but ICE refiled the case in 2018. When Gonzalez Carranza didn’t show up for his court hearing, a judge ordered him deported. The reason Gonzalez Carranza didn’t show up is because ICE sent his notice to the wrong address, so it was never received.
When Gonzalez Carranza was deported, Hernandez filed a motion to reopen the case, which triggered an automatic stay of removal. Still, he was deported anyway.
Gonzalez Carranza has no criminal record.
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