Cross-Border Craziness Continues

Erroneously deported man returns home; Congress urges action on Juarez murders

A mentally disabled Los Angeles-area man who was mistakenly deported to Tijuana, Mexico, nearly three months ago was returned to his family on Aug. 7. Relatives of 29-year-old Pedro Guzman said he was "shaking, stuttering, and appeared traumatized," after being picked up at the Calexico border crossing, to which he had trekked more than 100 miles. "They took him whole, but only returned half of him to me," the Associated Press reported his mother, Maria Carbajal, saying at a press conference. Family members of Guzman, who was deported May 11 after being jailed for a misdemeanor trespassing violation, "sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in federal court, claiming Guzman was a U.S. citizen and had been wrongfully deported[,] and demanding that U.S. authorities help find him," according to the AP. Also, the American Civil Liberties Union, which claims to have Guzman's U.S. birth certificate, "sued the government unsuccessfully to force it to look for Guzman," according to the Los Angeles Times. "After a June hearing, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson said he was not convinced that he had the authority to order the government to help in the search for Guzman, but that it would be the right and moral thing to do," the Times reported. Guzman's relatives ended up assuming the search burden, Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU's Southern California chapter, told the paper. "The family spent all of its savings and most of the last three months living at a fruit warehouse in Tijuana and sleeping in cars while they searched for Guzman," he said. According to the Times, "Immigration officials declined to comment on Guzman's apprehension at the border because of pending litigation brought against the agency by his family."

In other border news, 93 U.S. Congress members, both Democrats and Republicans, "signed a letter to Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Wednesday [Aug. 8,] urging action on the murders of young women in the border town of Ciudad Juarez. ... Hundreds of women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez and the state of Chihuahua since 1993, and about 100 killings followed a pattern in which young women were sexually assaulted, killed and dumped in the desert," the AP reported. "We are very pleased that the Mexican federal government has made good-faith efforts in recent years to combat violence against women in Ciudad Juarez and throughout Mexico. Nevertheless, the brutal assaults and murders continue," the letter says. Mexico's statute of limitation for murder is 14 years, meaning that the earliest of those killings are now becoming unprosecutable.

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U.S.-Mexico border, Pedro Guzman, Calexico, Maria Carbajal, Department of Homeland Security, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. Congress, Felipe Calderon, Ciudad Juarez

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