Two men are in custody after turning themselves in at the port of entry in Nogales, asking the government to grant them humanitarian parole and to re-open their immigration cases.
Ardani Rosales presented himself Wednesday morning after traveling by bus for four day from his native Guatemala. While Jaime Valdez walked through the turnstile at the Morley Gate Tuesday morning, as dozens of people chanted “bring him home,” from both sides of the border.
Valdez and Rosales’ move is part of pro-immigration activists’ latest efforts to bring attention to the nearly 2 million people who have been deported during President Obama’s administration.
Last year, nine young adults who lived in the United States without legal status were the first to seek entry back into the country asking for humanitarian parole. Since then, larger groups in Texas and California have followed their footsteps.
Organizers, including members of Puente Arizona, a grassroots organization for human rights, claim Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported Valdez and Rosales in retaliation for their activism and are asking the federal government to reconsider their cases based on Obama’s request for a review of deportation policies and practices.
Valdez said he was deported in the middle of the night while Phoenix police tried to evict his father and others from their two-week hunger strike outside the ICE office.
The 31-year-old Michoacan native moved to Phoenix when he was 14 years old.
He said he worked at a restaurant and fixed computers in his free time before he was pulled over by a Phoenix police and cited for driving under the influence — his second DUI since 2004.
He was transported to Eloy Detention Center, where he was among a group of people who started a hunger strike, while his parents protested outside the ICE offices in Phoenix.
Amber Cargile, spokeswoman for ICE in Arizona, said, “ICE is committed to sensible, effective immigration enforcement that focuses on its priorities, including convicted criminals and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.”
An immigration judge ordered Valdez’s deportation in June, according to ICE, and on Feb. 24, a day before he was deported to Mexico, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request to put off his removal.
Valdez said he had poor legal representation, but recognizes he made mistakes.
“I’m going to try to do things the right way,” he said Monday from Nogales, Sonora, before he attempted to cross.
Rosales was deported on Dec. 13, 2013. ICE said he was deported to Guatemala after the board of immigration appeals dismissed his appeal on Nov. 29, 2013. He had been previously deported in 2005.
Wednesday also marked the beginning of a three-day, 60-mile march from Phoenix to the Eloy Detention Center in preparation for the April 5 National Day of Action for Not1More Deportation, during which rallies and marches will take place across the country to demand an immediate stop to all deportations.