For Immediate Release
Contact: Jorge L. Barón, 206.957.8609
U.S. Citizen and Army Veteran Spends Nine Months In Detention While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Denies Detaining Citizens
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project says ICE “disingenuous”.
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) today debunked claims by the Northwest regional office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that the government has not detained U.S. citizens at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma.
“It is disingenuous for ICE to deny that U.S. citizens have been held at the detention center when ICE officials clearly know otherwise,” said Jorge L. Barón, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
“NWIRP has provided local ICE officials with the case numbers of the individuals involved so they can verify their own records and corroborate the fact that at least fourteen United States citizens have been detained at the Northwest Detention Center since 2005.
“Seven of these individuals were detained in 2008, and ICE was seeking to deport them in violation of their constitutional rights. Some were held for a few weeks while others were held for several months. Two people were ordered deported by an immigration judge before their citizenship claims were vindicated during their appeals.
Last week, Lorie Dankers, ICE’s regional public affairs officer appeared on the “Dave Ross Show” on KIRO 710 AM and responded to claims that U.S. citizens had been held at the detention center: “We do not hold U.S. citizens,” she stated. “ . . . if you are a U.S. citizen, you will be released and you will be released immediately.”
“That’s a lie,” was the response of Rennison Castillo, a NWIRP client who is a United States citizen and U.S. Army veteran detained by ICE at the detention center for nine months in 2005 and 2006.
“When I was detained, I was shocked and felt betrayed that, after serving in the military, I was placed in that position. ICE officers did not listen to me when I told them repeatedly that I was a U.S. citizen and had served in the Army at Fort Lewis. They were disrespectful and told me that I would say anything to get out of detention. It was a nightmare.”
“Ms. Dankers’ statement is simply not correct,” said Jorge L. Barón, executive director of NWIRP.
Barón noted that Mr. Castillo had volunteered to come forward and speak openly about his case and about the months he endured in detention at NWDC. Barón described Mr. Castillo’s case as follows:
Rennison Castillo was born in Belize. He came to the United States when he was six years old and later became a lawful permanent resident of the United States. In 1996, Mr. Castillo enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving for a period of seven years, before being honorably discharged in 2003. During his military service, Mr. Castillo decided that he wanted to become a U.S. citizen, so he applied for citizenship, completed all of the requirements and was sworn in as a United States citizen in October 1998.
In November 2005, Mr. Castillo was detained by ICE and brought to the Northwest Detention Center. ICE claimed that Mr. Castillo was in the country illegally and began deportation proceedings against him.
Like other immigration detainees faced with deportation, Mr. Castillo was not entitled to a court-appointed attorney, and he could not afford to hire a private attorney. Mr. Castillo eventually appeared before an immigration judge in December 2005 and January 2006. During his hearings, Mr. Castillo repeatedly explained that he was a naturalized United States citizen and that he had served in the U.S. Army from 1996 until 2003. He testified that he had been stationed at Fort Lewis and in Korea and had the rank of specialist. Mr. Castillo explained that he had filed the naturalization applications himself and had been sworn in at the INS office in Seattle. Despite Mr. Castillo’s testimony, the immigration judge ordered Mr. Castillo deported to Belize.
Mr. Castillo sought assistance from a NWIRP attorneys. Andrea Crumpler agreed to assist Mr. Castillo on his appeal. Ms. Crumpler contacted military authorities, who provided documents corroborating Mr. Castillo’s honorable service in the U.S. Army. Despite this evidence, the ICE attorney handling the case did not move to dismiss the case and continued to pursue Mr. Castillo’s deportation. Fortunately, the Board of Immigration Appeals determined that the new evidence merited a new hearing on Mr. Castillo’s case and sent the case back to the immigration court. In July 2006, after Mr. Castillo had spent nearly nine months in detention, ICE finally acknowledged its error and released Mr. Castillo.
“The cases of U.S. citizens like Mr. Castillo who have been detained by ICE highlight the issues faced by all detainees at the Northwest Detention Center,” said Barón. “Even if an individual has a valid claim to remain in the United States legally, being placed in detention makes it much more difficult to obtain legal representation or to secure the documentation to validate one’s case.”
ICE’s Dankers appeared on the “Dave Ross Show” following the release of a report last week by Seattle University School of Law International Human Rights Clinic and OneAmerica titled “Voices From Detention”.
[Note: To obtain documentation regarding Rennison Castillo’s case, contact Jorge L. Barón, Executive Director at (206) 957-8609 or jorge at our domain nwirp.org]
* * *
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project promotes justice for low-income immigrants by pursuing and defending their legal status. We focus on providing direct legal services, supported by our education and public policy work. NWIRP is the only entity in the list of “Free Legal Services” that is given to individuals placed in removal (aka deportation) proceedings in Washington State.
- NWIRP Welcomes President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration
- NWIRP Files Lawsuit Targeting Corrupt ICE Official
- NWIRP Expanding Statewide Efforts to Help Undocumented Youth Gain Education and Career Opportunities
- NWIRP and Partners Ask Federal Court to Block Deportation Hearings for Children Without Legal Representation
- Final Order Provides Hundreds of Class Members in Duran-Gonzalez v. Holder with New Opportunity to Remain in US with Family
- NWIRP and Partners Sue Federal Government over Failure to Provide Legal Representation for Children Placed into Deportation Proceedings
- Federal Court Rules Immigrant Detainees Must Be Given Bond Hearings
- Federal Judge Approves Settlement Agreement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers
- Federal Judge Preliminarily Approves Amended Settlement Agreement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers
- Settlement Reins in Border Patrol Stops on the Olympic Peninsula
- Court Rules Law Enforcement Can't Prolong Stop to Question an Individual About Immigration Status
- Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Approval of Settlement Agreement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers
- Vulnerable Immigrants in Deportation Proceedings Unable to Represent Themselves Must Get Counsel and a Hearing
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to Recognize Regional Leaders
- Class Action Lawsuit Forces Policy Change to Protect Detained Immigrants with Serious Mental Disabilities
- Agreement Reached in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers
- UW Report: Collaboration between King County jails and ICE results in unfair and costly impact
- Widespread Abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Documented in National Wave of Complaints
- Legal Groups to Announce Wave of Cases Highlighting Nationwide Abuses By U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Granger Community Legal Workshop: Get Free Attorney Help With DREAMer Deferred Action Forms
- Seattle/Des Moines Community Legal Workshop: Get Free Attorney Help With DREAMer Deferred Action Forms
- NWIRP places two members on key Shriver Center Leadership Program
- Border Patrol Policy Change Important Victory for Border Communities
- Granger Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Omak Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Bellevue Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Spokane Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Yakima Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Everett Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Mattawa and Yakima Community Legal Workshops: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Olympia/Lacey Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- NWIRP Presents: An Evening at Wing Luke Celebrating 28 Years of Reuniting Families
- Walla Walla Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Pasco Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Seattle/Des Moines Community Legal Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- Wenatchee Community Workshop: Talk to an Attorney About DREAMer Deferred Action
- 10 Members of Congress Join Northern Borders Coalition Demand for Civil Rights Audit of Border Patrol
- Federal Judge Rules that Lawsuit Against Border Patrol Actions on Olympic Peninsula May Move Forward
- Granger Community Workshop: Do you qualify for DREAMer Deferred Action?
- Tacoma Community Workshop – Do you qualify for DREAMer Deferred Action?
- Wednesday: Press Conference - The DREAMer Deferred Action Program Unveiled
- Immigrant Rights and Civil Rights Leaders React to SB1070 Decision and Announce Renewed Efforts to Fight
- Federal Agency Rules Against Use of Border Patrol Agents as Interpreters
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Presents: 28th Anniversary Celebration
- NWIRP Challenges Local Law Enforcement Use of U.S. Border Patrol Agents as “Interpreters”
- Lawsuit Challenges Unconstitutional Stops and Interrogations by Border Patrol Agents on Olympic Peninsula
- Federal Judge Certifies Class Action Asserting Right to Counsel for Immigrant Detainees with Mental Disabilities
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project & Partners Target “Asylum Clock” in Class Action Lawsuit
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Presents: An Evening at Wing Luke, Celebrating 27 Years of Reuniting Families
- Minor Changes to "Secure Communities" Do Not Address Inherent Problems with the Program
- Man Nearly Deported Awaiting Asylum Decision for Sixteen Years
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Celebrates 27 Years of Service to Washington State Immigrants and Refugees
- DHS Agrees to Pay $400,000 to U.S. Citizen, Army Veteran, Unlawfully Detained by Immigration for Over Seven Months
- Federal Court Rules in Favor of NWIRP Client, Reaffirms Protections for Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence
- Immigrants Win Right to Representation
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project & Center for Justice Achieve Settlement in Case of Immigrant Detained Unlawfully
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project & Partners File First Class-Action Lawsuit On Behalf of Immigrants with Mental Disabilities
- United States v. Arizona racial profiling law
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Legal Voice, Latina/o Bar Association of Washington, National Employment Law Project and ACLU of Washington Unite to Praise Washington Supreme Court Decision Protecting the Integrity of the Court System
- NWIRP to receive national recognition
- NWIRP to Celebrate 25 Years of Serving Immigrant Communities
- NWIRP E.D. Jorge Baron on KUOW 94.9
- NWIRP Wins "Moving Mountains" award from Office of Crime Victims Advocacy
- NWIRP wins City of Seattle Human Rights Award
- Federal Appeals Court Rules For Jamaican Gay Man and NWIRP Client, Finds “Pattern or Practice” of Persecution Against Gay Jamaican Men
- Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Challenging Unreasonable Delays Granting Citizenship
- U.S. Citizen and Army Veteran Spends Nine Months In Detention While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Denies Detaining Citizens
- NWIRP Expresses Its Opposition to Planned Expansion of DHS Detention Center
- Matt Adams Wins National Excellence in Litigation Award