INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says a local woman facing deportation and her detained husband have both been deported before and have made false claims about being United States citizens.
ICE agents showed up at the couple’s home last month. They arrested her husband and placed her in handcuffs.
“My name is Erika Fierro and I was brought here 30 years ago as a child,” the woman told FOX59. “They got me out of my house with lies. They said ‘we are ICE and we are taking you’ and I said ‘why?’ Then they screamed back and said ‘you were not born here. You are not from here and you need to go back to your country.’”
Faith leaders in the community told FOX59 both Jesus Pena-Rodriguez and Fierro have no criminal history but believe a traffic stop where Jesus did not have a license led to the arrest.
FOX59 reached out to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about Erika’s case Tuesday, but got no response until the following day.
DHS Public Affairs Officer Shawn Neudauer says Fierro and Pena-Rodriguez were encountered at the Hidalgo, Texas port of entry on June 18, 2007 and both falsely claimed to be U.S. citizens, which is a felony.
“During a subsequent, secondary border inspection, Fierro and Pena-Rodriquez both admitted to being Mexican nationals with no status as U.S. citizens. On the same day, they were served with expedited removal orders and deported to Mexico,” said Neudauer.
Sometime later, Neudauer says the couple re-entered the United States, which is also a felony.
Pena-Rodriquez is currently in ICE custody pending his removal. Fierro was released from ICE custody on an order of supervision, and is currently required to check-in to an ICE office periodically.
An ICE official provided the following additional background information:
- For parents who are ordered removed, it is their decision whether to relocate their children with them or not. If parents choose to have their U.S. citizen children accompany them, ICE accommodates, to the extent practicable, the parents’ efforts to make provisions for their children. As practicable, ICE will coordinate to afford detained parents or legal guardians access to counsel, consulates and consular officials, courts, and/or family members in the weeks preceding removal in order to execute documents (e.g., powers of attorney, passport applications), purchase airline tickets, and make other necessary arrangements prior to travel.
- Expedited removals occur when a non-U.S. citizen is denied entry into the United States and is physically removed, usually from a U.S. port of entry. Expedited removals carry the same legal consequences as a removal (deportation).
- An order of supervision allows qualified aliens to report to an ICE office on a required schedule. This gives the alien time to prepare for their departure from the United States.
- Depending on an alien’s criminality, an alien who re-enters the United States after having been previously deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted.