On the same day that a federal judge put Hector García Mendoza’s deportation on hold to file his lawsuit against ICE, the agency deported him to a dangerous Mexican border town – and now nobody knows where he is.
One of his lawyers, Joelle Eliza Lingat, said that judge Brian R. Martinotti gave an oral injunction on May 19 at a hearing that ended at 5:50 p.m. to deport her 30-year-old Clients were blocked by relying on the written order. However, García Mendoza’s lawyers said he was deported at 6:20 p.m. and Mexican immigration officials told them that he crossed the border in the city of Nuevo Laredo at around 6:42 p.m. almost an hour after the order was issued.
Lawyers said they found out only hours later that he had been deported when Rep. Joaquin Castro’s office asked for information about the case. The deportation of García Mendoza was first reported by Law360.
ICE said in a statement that there was no “judicial obstacle” when they deported García Mendoza to Mexico. When ICE submitted the deportation time specified by García Mendoza’s lawyers, ICE said it agreed with its original statement.
The last time his lawyers spoke to García Mendoza was when he was detained at the Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey about a week and a half ago.
Since his deportation, lawyers and family members have not been able to reach him and fear that he may be injured.
Their fears are not unfounded: Nuevo Laredo has built a reputation for being a city where immigrants can be kidnapped, blackmailed and attacked by cartels. Deportees could also be targets if they have access to family or friends with money in the United States, Lingat said.
“That is why we started a very urgent search as soon as we found out that he was in the United States.” Fact in Mexico, “Lingat told BuzzFeed News.” Hector has experienced extreme injustice through our immigration system, and this injustice needs to be corrected. ”
In a statement, ICE said García Mendoza was deported by an immigration judge on May 4 and waived his right to appeal the decision.
Lingat said García Mendoza was not represented by a lawyer and did not do so. I do not know what he agreed to during his last hearing. Before his deportation, Lingat and other lawyers had planned to appeal his deportation.
“In interviews with the lawyer, García Mendoza said he was unsure of what happened during his immigration hearings, but García Mendoza feared persecution and torture when she moved to Mexico,” court records indicate.
Four days before his deportation, García Mendoza had been the plaintiff in a case against ICE, DHS officers and a CoreCivic supervisor. CoreCivic is one of the largest private prison companies in the United States, formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the Elizabeth Detention Center under contract.
The lawsuit demanded the release of all Immigrant Centers detained at Elizabeth Detention, citing the risk of COVID-19 infection within the facility. The complaint said that immigrants were held in tight, dirty conditions that were ripe for the spread of the disease.
At least two immigrants detained by ICE have died from the disease caused by the novel corona virus.
At the Elizabeth, New Jersey facility where García Mendoza was arrested, 18 people tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 1,327 immigrants in ICE detention tested 2,620 positive.
García Mendoza suffers from asthma. Lingat said her client was denied adequate treatment when he had chest pain and shortness of breath at the facility.
García Mendoza was born in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. As a child, he was abandoned by his parents and raised by his paternal grandparents. In 2010, García Mendoza fled from “violent and unstable” conditions in Mexico and emigrated to New Jersey according to court documents.
In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE last week, 18 Congress members sent the schedule of his deportation “questionable” and said they were concerned that its removal from the United States had been an act of retribution could.
Lingat are currently following the cases in good faith without blaming ICE for retaliation against García Mendoza and that once her client is found, the immigration authorities will allow him to further fight his claim from the United States.
“But with the ordinary person it doesn’t take much to connect the points, a plaintiff in a lawsuit against an entire facility was deported to one of the most dangerous places than there were other options,” Lingat said.