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Deportation Lawsuit against Immigration Agents Allowed to Proceed

May 18, 2012 | Posted In Immigration - Lawsuit

A Report from Your New Jersey Immigration Lawyers

A federal judge has decided that a lawsuit against five agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who were involved in the deportation of a U.S. citizen to Mexico should be allowed to proceed. New Jersey immigration lawyers are pleased that the case will be heard.

The lawsuit alleges that Mark Lyttle, a U.S citizen who suffers from mental disabilities, was wrongfully deported to Mexico where he lived for more than four months on the streets.  He also spent time in living terrible conditions in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. 

Lyttle was found by immigration officers as he was about to be released from a North Carolina jail.  He had been sentenced there for a short period for inappropriately touching a worker when he was in living a house for persons with mental disorders. 

New Jersey immigration lawyers note that immigration officers had plenty of evidence that Lyttle was a U.S. citizen.  They knew that he had a social security number, and they had access to his parents’ contact information and his criminal record checks.  They also had sworn statements from Lyttle that he was born in this country.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed federal lawsuits in the case, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were aware at the time that Lyttle suffered from mental disabilities. In spite of this knowledge, they did not offer any legal counsel before deporting him to Mexico.  At the time, Lyttle spoke no Spanish, had no exposure to Mexican culture, and had never been to Mexico.

Once deported to Mexico, Lyttle was lost in a strange land where he did not speak the local language.  Authorities in Mexico sent him to Honduras, where he was put in prison.  Officials in the Honduras then sent him to Guatemala.  During this 4-month nightmare in foreign countries, Lyttle suffered severe depression because he did not have access to his medications. Finally, his brother wired him money, and he was able to return to the U.S.

Now, a federal judge has ruled that Lyttle can make claims against the United States for false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

The New Jersey immigration lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons in visa, spousal visa, asylum and other immigration-related matters across New Jersey.

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