Let me tell you the unusual tale of a US Citizen who was wrongly deported to Mexico by the the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Mark Daniel Lyttle is 33, a US Citizen of Puerto Rican descent who was actually born in Salisbury, North Carolina. He has suffered his whole life with a range of health problems, which include epilepsy, diabetes and bipolar disorder.
Mark was arrested for a misdemeanour and was supposed to have been released from jail in North Carolina on 26 October 2008, having served 85 days of the 100 that he was sentenced.
However, an official from Immigration and Customs Enforcement had other ideas for him, claiming that his real name was Jose Thomas, that he was Mexican, an undocumented immigrant and that he was going to be deported to Mexico, which duly happened in December 2008, despite his claiming that he was actually a US citizen.
Mark spent the next 115 days wandering Mexico and Central America, sleeping rough on the street and in prisons in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, before locating an American Embassy.
Having explained his situation, obtained a new passport and being sent home, you would think that his problems would be over, but that was not to be.
On arrival at the airport in Atlanta, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials started the whole process off again, claiming that he was an “alien with a lengthy criminal history”.
So Mark was arrested again, despite his protests and showing officials his new passport, and the Immigration service began new proceedings to deport him yet again.
Fortunately for Mark, the Department of Homeland Security were able to stop these proceedings, however so far nobody from the government has come to him with an apology for how he was treated.
Mark was treated so badly even before he was deported to Mexico, that he tried to take his own life with an overdose of pills.
As a result of all that has happened to him, Mark has filed a lawsuit against the Immigration services, seeking injunctive, compensatory and punitive damages on claims of violations of the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments, false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The case is currently being processed in the court in the North Carolina Eastern District Court, and in the 41 page report of complaints that describe everything that Mark Lyttle went through, including his struggle for survival having been deported, his attorneys said that “the government failed in its constitutional charge to protect the liberty and security of a U.S. citizen, placing his fate in the hands of officials who lacked proper training and oversight, causing Lyttle profound physical and psychological injuries”.
I know that people make mistakes, but this is obviously a case of negligence on the part of certain officials, and I hope that Mark’s case is successful.
Courthouse News Service
LYTTLE v. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al