Another U.S. Citizen ‘Accidentally’ Deported

Despite her birth in Louisiana, Diane Williams was recently deported to Honduras by the U.S. government.

Despite her birth in Louisiana, Diane Williams was recently deported to Honduras by the U.S. government. (Courier photographer Matt Stamey)

Earlier this month, U.S. citizen, Irving Palomo, was detained and put in a van headed for Mexico due to an ICE mix-up.

A few months ago Mark Lyttle, a U.S. citizen who suffers from mild retardation, was deported to Mexico. Mexican officials then deported him to Honduras, and Honduras deported him to Guatemala. After spending four months in Latin American prisons and homeless shelters, Atlanta airport officials tried to deport Lyttle again on his way back to his home in North Carolina.

Now a Louisiana newspaper is reporting that Diane Williams, a U.S. citizen of Caucasian and Native American descent, was recently deported to Honduras due to a mistake made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Williams was finishing up a prostitution sentence in Texas under a fake alias when she received a deportation order from the U.S. government. Two weeks later she found herself pleading her case at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Williams claims that she was pressured by ICE officials to waive her right to judicial review. “They didn’t read nothing to me. They just told me to sign,” says Williams.

Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle, told Louisiana’s Daily Comet that ICE officials “cut corners” and “are pushed to deport people quickly.” According to the newspaper:

Immigration-rights advocates say thousands of people with credible claims to U.S. citizenship are detained every year by an overloaded immigration-enforcement system, in part because of pressures on agents to show results in numbers of deportations and a lack of adequate civil-rights protections.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conservatively estimates that approximately 100 U.S. citizens are accidentally ensnared by the country’s broken immigration system each year. Joanne Lin, legislative counsel with the ACLU in Washington, told a Tennessee newspaper that these mistakes are indicative of “a whole host of immigration enforcement and due process problems that exist in the system.” As immigration restrictionists incessantly call on immigration officials to ramp up their deportation efforts, ICE can barely handle the deportation work they’re already doing.

Andrea Christina Nill

Republished with permission from the Wonk Room/Think Progress

Published by the LA Progressive on June 19, 2009
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About Andrea Christina Nill

Andrea Nill is an Immigration Researcher/Blogger for ThinkProgress.org and The Progress Report at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Political Science with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Law and Society. Prior to joining the center, Andrea was a Communications Associate at the Immigration Policy Center where she founded the blog, Immigration Impact. Andrea was also a Communications Specialist at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), specializing in bilingual public relations. Andrea was born in Guatemala and grew up in upstate New York.