The husband of a U.S. soldier who was killed in Afghanistan was allowed to return to the United States on Monday after being deported to Mexico last week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Arizona Republic reported.
Jose Gonzalez Carranza, 30, said his deportation had left his 12-year-old daughter stranded in the U.S. without parents. His late wife, Army Pfc. Barbara Vieyra, was killed in an insurgent attack in 2010 while deployed in Afghanistan. She was 22.
Gonzalez’s case triggered widespread outrage online. Latino Victory, a political action committee, called ICE’s actions “absolutely unconscionable.”
Gonzalez’s lawyer told the Republic that his client — who had entered the United States illegally in 2004, three years before marrying Vieyra — had been granted what is known as a parole in place, or PIP, after his wife was killed. PIP authorizes certain undocumented family members of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans to stay and work in the U.S., protecting them from deportation.
The attorney, Ezequiel Hernandez, said an immigration judge had stopped deportation proceedings against Gonzalez after the PIP was granted. But the case was reopened by ICE last year, Hernandez said.
A judge ordered Gonzalez’s deportation after he failed to show up for a court hearing in December. Gonzalez said, however, that he never received the notice to appear in court. He believes ICE sent it to the wrong address.
Gonzalez was arrested by immigration officers in Arizona last Monday and was deported to Nogales, Mexico, two days later. His daughter, a U.S. citizen, was taken in by her maternal grandparents, Mexican newspaper El Imparcial reported.
On Monday, Hernandez told CNN reporter Zachary Cohen that Gonzalez had returned to the U.S. The attorney said ICE had allowed his client back into the country after he circulated a news release to raise public awareness about Gonzalez’s plight.
The Military Times noted last year that President Donald Trump’s administration had amped up rejections of requests from active-duty service members and veterans seeking deportation protections for spouses and dependents.
Citing ICE data, the Military Times said the rejection rate of veteran requests had doubled ― from a 10% rejection rate in the 2016 fiscal year during former President Barack Obama’s tenure to almost 20% through the first nine months of fiscal 2018 under Trump.
The rate of rejection for requests by active-duty members for their spouses and dependents increased from 11% to 14.5% over the same period.