By Daniel Hernandez
Pedro Guzman, the Lancaster man who was wrongfully deported from the L.A. County jail system, filed suit against the federal government on Wednesday, claiming his deportation into Tijuana violated his constitutional rights and endangered his life.
(Pedro Guzman with Carbajal, announcing the suit. Photo courtesy ACLU)
For 89 days, Guzman, who is mentally disabled, was literally lost in Tijuana after his deportation. The government did little to help his mother Maria Carbajal as she walked the tough neighborhoods of the Mexican border city looking for Pedro, as the LA Weekly reported last July. Guzman eventually reappeared at the Mexicali border crossing, 100 miles east of Tijuana. He told his family he had walked to Mexicali, eating out of garbage cans and drinking canal water.
The Department of Homeland Security called the deportation an isolated incident. Guzman had been arrested on a trespassing charge in March 2007 at the Lancaster Fox Field airport and transferred to the downtown LA jail, where inmates are routinely processed through an immigration screening. Guzman was born in East Los Angeles.
"The lawsuit states that agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement coerced Guzman into waiving his legal rights as a U.S. citizen," the ACLU of Southern California said in a statement. "Guzman, who struggles with basic reading and writing, visual processing, conceptualization skills and memory, was unable to understand what he was signing."
-- Daniel Hernandez
Read Daniel Hernandez's "Lost in Tijuana" A mother’s search for a son, born in East L.A. but deported by County Sheriffs
Daniel Hernandez blogs regularly from Mexico City at danielhernandez.typepad.com/