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US citizen held 3 years awaiting deportation sues government

A man who is a naturalized citizen has filed a lawsuit after allegedly being held in an immigration detention center for more than three years. He was purportedly awaiting deportation in spite of his legal status as a U.S. citizen. According to recent statistics, this is not an uncommon occurrence, and many in North Carolina may have endured a similar scenario.

The man filed a civil case against the federal government for unlawful detention. In his suit, he claims that immigration officials ignored his repeated attempts to inform them that he was a naturalized citizen. The man, who was born in another country, became a naturalized citizen when his father completed the process in 2002.

The man was detained after being arrested for a drug-related offense and was sentenced to serve several months in a correctional facility. However, due to a program meant to ensure that those accused of a crime, and lacking proper documentation, are deported back to their home countries, this man's arrest in 2007 triggered his transport to an immigration holding facility. Once there, it supposedly took officials years to discover that the man was, in fact, a U.S. citizen.

The program, which requires assistance from local law enforcement, has been highly criticized for its many flaws, and several cities and towns have passed laws stipulating that they will limit their participation in the program. Moreover, one town stated that it will require warrants before seeking to detain residents. North Carolina residents who have faced similar threats of deportation have access to local resources who can provide assistance and information regarding their rights and protections under the provisions of the current laws.

Source:, "Citizen sues US government over deportation ordeal", Nov. 5, 2014

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