Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Man without a country

How bizarre. Claim you're an illegal alien to escape charges now, you're facing deportation and you claim you're an American citizen.

Some pretty big constitutional issues here however, he is on the record and swore he's not an American citizen, but does that mean your citizenship can be stripped from you? Perhaps it can be considered a repudiation of your citizenship and a voluntary waiver of your citizenship.

Anyway you slice it, it's not nice to fool ICE, they get angry.

Facing deportation, man now says he's American
Hernán Rozemberg: Express-News

Saúl Espinoza readily admits he's no angel — his life is a chronology of felony convictions — and that he deserves to be punished for being a weasel with the justice system.
But that shouldn't include getting booted out of the country and not being allowed back, he said.

Espinoza, 36, claims he's a U.S. citizen about to be wrongly deported to Mexico. He's expected to receive a final deportation order Thursday at a court hearing in San Antonio.
"Just because I've done bad stuff in the past shouldn't mean they can take away my citizenship," he said by phone Tuesday from a downtown federal detention facility.

Because he once routinely told authorities he was in the country illegally to avoid being charged for crimes — and admitted as much in court — an immigration judge has refused to allow him to prove he was born in the United States.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the case, other than noting Espinoza is "in violation of federal law" and that it's up to the courts if he stays or goes.

Judges aren't allowed to be interviewed and her agency doesn't comment on individual cases, said Susan Eastwood, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department's Executive Office of Immigration Review, which runs the national immigration courts.

But the government needs to take another look at Espinoza's case, his relatives said.

"He's got some serious issues," said Javier Vega, Espinoza's uncle, who grew up with him in Brownsville. "He needs to face the music, do his time, get help — here. He's not from Mexico. He doesn't know anybody over there."

But he certainly has been to Mexico many times.

Convicted in Texas and Georgia for felonies such as burglary, arson and dealing marijuana, Espinoza was able to evade other charges by telling police he was an undocumented immigrant.
The simple scheme worked quite well — he would sign a document using an alias, acknowledging he was in the country illegally. "Voluntarily returned" to Mexican border towns, he would easily re-enter the United States, claiming citizenship at border crossings.

He did it for years, despite a criminal history and even after he was formally deported in 1991, when immigration agents caught on to his concocted identity — Joel Garza Trevino.

Throughout his time in the criminal justice system, even during the 1991 deportation, Espinoza never claimed he was a U.S. citizen.