Jose Arturo Gonzalez Carranza’s deportation was quickly reversed by ICE.
Michael Chow, Arizona Republic
PHOENIX – Jose Arturo Gonzalez Carranza was less than a block from his home in Apache Junction, Arizona, when he saw the flashing police lights behind him.
It was about 5:30 a.m. on April 8 and Gonzalez Carranza was driving to his welding job.
Gonzalez Carranza pulled over.
The next thing he knew, five or six officers wearing military-style camouflage clothing with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement badges had surrounded his vehicle with guns drawn, yelling, “Put your hands up. Open the door.”
Gonzalez Carranza said the officers then pulled him out and handcuffed him against the side of his vehicle.
“Who you guys are? I have rights,” Gonzalez Carranza recalled asking.
“Nevermind,” the officers yelled, Gonzalez Carranza said. The officers then placed him in the back of a van and drove him to the ICE offices near downtown Phoenix.
That was the beginning of an ordeal that Gonzalez Carranza described to The Arizona Republic on Monday, a week after he was arrested by ICE officers, deported to Mexico and then allowed to return to the United States.
He said the experience added to the trauma he experienced after his wife, Army Pfc. Barbara Vieyra, was killed on Sept. 18, 2010, while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan at the age of 22.
He said he also was having trouble coming to grips with the fact that the same country his wife died fighting for was trying to kick him out, even though he has a 12-year-old daughter, Evelyn, who also lost her mother and now could lose her father.
“I feel bad because President (Donald) Trump says he wants to help” people who fight for the country, “but then why does he want to kick people out when his wife sacrificed,” Gonzalez Carranza said.
Trump seems to want to deport everyone in the country illegally, without considering the circumstances, he added.
“I think the new president, the only thing he wants to do is deport people for no reason,” Gonzalez Carranza said. “I know there are bad people in America, good people in America. But he only thinks, if you are illegal, you are going out. He never thinks about what happened with the families … or if the people contribute to his country to be better.”
Gonzalez Carranza says he wasn’t aware of a deportation order
After being taken to the ICE offices in Phoenix on April 8, Gonzalez Carranza said officers told him an immigration judge had signed a deportation order and he was being sent back to Mexico.
Gonzalez Carranza said he told the officers he didn’t know anything about the deportation order.
The officers told him the order had been signed because he failed to show up for a deportation hearing in December.
His lawyer, Ezequiel Hernandez, said Gonzalez Carranza didn’t show up for the hearing because ICE sent the notice to the wrong address.
Gonzalez Carranza said he spent three days in ICE custody before he was deported to Mexico early Thursday morning.
During those three days, ICE officials transferred him back and forth between detention centers in Florence and Phoenix before finally driving him to the border and dropping him off at the border crossing in Nogales.
Jose Arturo Gonzalez Carranza, deported husband of a fallen soldier, talks about President Trump’s immigration policy
Michael Chow, Arizona Republic
After being deported, he felt lost in Mexico
He said it was about 5 or 6 in the morning when they dropped him off.
He said he felt lost when he crossed into Mexico. He hadn’t been there since he came to the U.S. illegally from a town in the southern state of Veracruz as a teenager.
He and Vieyra married in 2007.
“It was horrible,” Gonzalez Carranza said of her dying while on duty. “She was killed on my birthday. It was a traumatic experience for me.”
His daughter was 3 when her mother was killed.
“It’s been hard for her growing up without her mother,” he said. “It’s been completely hard.”
After he was deported, Gonzalez Carranza said he had no idea what he was going to do..
“I never been there before,” he said.
He spent the next four days in Mexico sleeping at a shelter for deported migrants at night and walking to the border crossing during the day so that he could remain in cellphone contact with his lawyer.
He said his lawyer told him each day that he was working to bring him back to the U.S. Hernandez said Gonzalez Carranza shouldn’t have been deported because on the day he was arrested, he filed a motion to reopen his case, which triggered an automatic stay of removal.
Gonzalez Carranza said he had to buy a hooded jacket in Mexico to keep warm because it was cold and raining Friday.
On Monday, Gonzalez Carranza received a call from his lawyer informing him that ICE officials had reversed course apparently after Hernandez sent a news release to the media about his deportation.
Gonzalez Carranza was allowed to return to the U.S., after media attention
Gonzalez Carranza was allowed to re-enter the U.S. through the Nogales border crossing late Monday afternoon. After a stop in Tucson, an ICE bus dropped him off at the ICE offices near downtown Phoenix about 7 p.m.
Hernandez said Gonzalez Carranza will have to wait until an immigration judge rules on his motion to reopen the case. If the judge reopens the case, Hernandez will ask for his parole in place to be reinstated, allowing Gonzalez Carranza to continue to live and work in the U.S.
Gonzalez Carranza said his daughter lives with her grandparents.
He said he had not told her he had been deported because he was afraid knowing her father was gone would further traumatize her growing up without her mother.
“I didn’t tell her nothing,” he said. “I don’t want to make her feel (worse), her feelings be more frustrated, like I don’t have a mom, and now I may never see my dad again.”
Gonzalez Carranza said he only sees his daughter on weekends. He hoped to see her again this Friday.
He said he might tell her then what happened.
Follow Daniel González on Twitter: @azdangonzalez
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