The husband of a US Army soldier killed in combat was detained and deported to Mexico last week by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement even though he had been granted permission to stay in the United States, according to his attorney.
The man, who is now back in Phoenix, where he lives, had been granted “parole in place,” clearing him to remain in the United States after his wife was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan, the attorney says.
Jose Gonzalez Carranza was arrested by ICE agents at his home in Phoenix on April 8 and was taken to Nogales, Mexico, on the border two days later, his lawyer, Ezequiel Hernandez, told CNN on Monday. Carranza was brought back to Phoenix and released Monday, hours after his deportation was first reported by The Arizona Republic.
Hernandez said his law firm tried to contact ICE for details related to why Carranza was taken back to Mexico but did not receive a response until after his office notified the press.
Despite Carranza’s return to the United States, Hernandez said his case isn’t over.
Carranza entered the US illegally as a teenager in 2004 from Mexico. In 2007, he married Army Pfc. Barbara Vieyra and the two had a daughter, who is now 12 years old.
“Pfc. Barbara Vieyra, 22, of Mesa, Arizona, died September 18 of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked her unit using an improvised explosive device and rocket propelled grenade fire in Kunar province, Afghanistan. She was assigned to the 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas,” according to Department of Defense records.
After Carranza was arrested, his daughter went to live with her grandparents who were awarded joint custody after Vieyra’s death, Hernandez said.
Carranza was given “parole in place” status by immigration authorities after his wife was killed in 2010, Hernandez said. This designation, typically given in increments, means Carranza was allowed to stay in the United States without the threat of deportation.
ICE refiled a deportation case against Carranza last year despite the parole-in-place designation. However, a notice for Carranza to appear in court was sent to an old address, Hernandez added.
As a result, Carranza did not show up to court and a judge ordered him deported.
“The government never revoked the (parole-in-place),” Hernandez said. “They detained (Carranza) because of the order of removal done due to the court hearing my client did not go to because he did not know. As of today, we do not know why the client was removed.”
In a release, ICE said it arrested Carranza on April 8 “with a final order of removal.” The same day, Carranza filed a motion to reopen with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, or EOIR. On April 11, ICE removed Carranza “from the United States pending the motion to reopen while a stay was in place,” according to the release.
ICE said Carranza was allowed to re-enter the United States on Monday “pending adjudication” of his proceedings.
“An immigration judge with EOIR will determine if proceedings should be reopened, and whether Gonzalez-Carranza has legal basis to remain in the United States,” the release said. The statement didn’t mention a parole in place.
“I don’t know if they confused the papers or just didn’t follow orders,” Hernandez told CNN, referring to the ICE officers.
Hernandez said ICE agents brought his client back from the border at Nogales to Tucson and ultimately dropped him off in Phoenix late Monday.
Hernandez said the next step is to wait for an immigration hearing in Phoenix to see if a judge will reopen Carranza’s case. Once in front of the judge, Hernandez said his team will ask for a cancellation of the deportation order.
Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said her “office is in communication with Mr. Carranza’s attorney and we will assist the Carranza family in this process.”
CNN’s Chris Boyette and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.