An Associated Press investigation has documented more than 50 cases of the United States locking up or deporting its own citizens over the past eight years.
It is illegal to deport U.S. citizens or detain them for immigration violations. Yet citizens still end up in detention because the system is overwhelmed, acknowledged Victor Cerda, who left Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2005 after overseeing the system. The number of detentions overall is expected to rise by about 17 percent this year to more than 400,000, putting a severe strain on the enforcement network and legal system.
The Los Angles Times reports that “Immigration raids of factories and other work sites often result in at least a short-term detention of lawful residents and even citizens, as agents seal targeted businesses and grill workers about their status.”