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Blanca Maria Alfaro is again officially a U.S. citizen after the U.S. government illegally deported, exiled, and detained her.

Blanca Maria Alfaro is again officially a U.S. citizen after the U.S. government illegally deported, exiled, and detained her.

Blanca Maria Alfaro has always been a U.S. citizen. She was born in Houston, Texas on December 17, 1979.

In 1995, Blanca applied for and received a U.S. passport based on her Texas Birth Certificate.  In 1998, Blanca traveled from El Salvador to JFK International Airport in New York. She presented her U.S. passport for admission. The nightmare that ensued has finally ended today when she received her third U.S. passport after having been illegally deported, exiled, and detained over the course of the last 15 years.

The INS officials at the time did not believe Blanca was a U.S. citizen. She did not speak English because she grew up from the age of 5 in El Salvador. She was 18 and this was her first time coming back to her native land of the United States. In 1998 at JFK, INS officials unlawfully detained Blanca, interrogating her for hours and threatening her with serious bodily harm unless she admitted that she was not the person listed on her passport.

After hours of this relentless torture, Blanca supposedly made a false confession. She signed a “sworn statement”, written in English, that she was someone else and that she was born in El Salvador. This was a clear false confession, as can be seen from the evidence on record.

After being illegally deported to El Salvador, Blanca immediately went to the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador to apply for a new U.S. passport. After a 9 month investigation, State Department officials issued Blanca her second U.S. passport.

Blanca was again subjected to a marathon interrogation when she attempted to enter the U.S. in 1999 with her second U.S. passport. If it were not for the intervention of a friendly INS official, she may have been deported again. She was released into the U.S. as a U.S. citizen in 1999 after a family member convinced INS officials that she was in fact a U.S. citizen.

Blanca entered the U.S. with her second U.S. passport again in 2001 and 2004 without incident. When she went to register her children as U.S. citizens in the Embassy in San Salvador in 2005, State Department officials unlawfully confiscated her second U.S. passport, essentially revoking her U.S. citizenship without affording her any due process of law.

For the second time, Blanca was stripped of her right to U.S. citizenship without any due process of law. Instead of giving Blanca a chance to confront evidence against her, the U.S. embassy officials in El Salvador told Blanca that the case was in Washington and nothing could be done.

As it turned out, State Department officials in Washington D.C. did nothing with Blanca’s case until her second U.S. passport was “revoked” in 2012 by a State Department attorney, who admitted to not having  nearly enough evidence to make a meaningful decision. In other words, the State Department broke the law several times: First when it confiscated her passport in 2005 and second when it inexplicably delayed the revocation decision for about 7 years.

Blanca realized that the U.S. government would never allow her to return to her native country of the United States. In March of 2013, she applied for admission to the U.S. at a border crossing in Texas, showing her Texas birth certificate, Social Security Card, and New York Photo identification as proof of U.S. citizenship.

Again, immigration officials did not believe Blanca. She was detained for 17 days until attorneys at ICE’s Office of Chief Counsel in Oakdale Louisiana released her from detention because they believed she was a U.S. citizen.

She was not out of the woods yet. ICE’s decision only meant that they would not affirmatively push for her deportation from the United States. Released into the U.S., she was stateless.

We became the attorneys for Blanca in April of this year. We always believed that she was a U.S. citizen, even when journalists and a Congressman abandoned Blanca because apparently the U.S. government can do no wrong unless the narrative is a crystal clear black and white.

Our perseverance paid off.

Today, Blanca’s U.S. citizenship was officially recognized for a third time.

The U.S. State Department issued her a U.S. passport.

Our U.S. citizen client’s story of illegal deportation and exile at the hands of the U.S. Government.

Below is the English translation of the Pilar Marerro’s article for La Opinion that was published today:

Blanca Alfaro, a U.S. citizen born in Houston, Texas,  with 3 of her children in El Salvador

Blanca Alfaro, a U.S. citizen born in Houston, Texas, with 3 of her children in El Salvador

Blanca Maria Alfaro, who is 33-years-old, has a birth certificate issued in Houston, Texas, vaccination documents from when she was a child, a social security card, and she has been issued two United States passports. But that has not been enough to dissuade the government of the United States from believing that she is lying and that in reality she is a Salvadoran who has tried to enter the country illegally.

Alfaro has had to retain at least two attorneys to represent her in in her intent to prove that she is a citizen of the United States, as her documents show. The path has been complicated and full of obstacles.

“I am from here. This is my country because I was born here”, said Alfaro in an interview by phone from the office of her attorney on Long Island, New York.

“The last time I entered through Hidalgo, a huge amount of officials detained me, and one pushed me into a room and later they interrogated me.”

On at least two occasions, once in 1998 at the Kennedy airport in New York and the other time in Hidalgo, Texas, she was detained and interrogated. On the last occasion, she was detained for eight days in Texas and another seven days at the La Salle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana.

In 1998, CBP confiscated her passport, which was recently issued in San Salvador, and deported her, but not before they interrogated her extensively, detaining her for hours and tying her feet and legs. Later, she was issued another passport and she was arrested again briefly when she traveled again to the United States in 1999. Subsequently, she entered the United States in 2001 and 2004 without any problems.

This Kafkasque comedy continued again in 2005 when she went to the United States embassy in El Salvador to request residency for her husband and four children, who live in that country. Again, her passport was confiscated for “not being a citizen”. Since 2006, the family has been working with attorneys to obtain another passport for her and in 2007 the Department of State advised her that they were investigating. To this moment, they have not informed her of a decision.

“How can they take 7 years to conduct an investigation like this one?”, said her attorney Bryan Johnson, of Long Island, New York.

Alfaro, according to her declaration and according to a copy of her birth certificate, provided by Johnson, was born in Houston in 1979 and lived there her first years of live until she reached the age of 5, when her father brought her to El Salvador, the country where her ancestors are from. There she has lived up until recently and there she married and had four children, who continue to reside in a household in La Union. Her husband is an farmer in the area.

On two occasions, Alfaro states that she was treated harshly and suspiciously by federal agents. “I do not know why they do not want me to come, if this is my country”, added the woman, whose oldest child now lives in the United States and who wants her husband and her other children to be able to come and live with them in the United States.

The attorney Johnson noted that after 14 days of being detained, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recognized that there was evidence that she “was a citizen.”

Part of the problem stems from what happened in 1998, when Alfaro was 18-years-old and attempted to enter the U.S. with her United States Passport issued in San Salvador, she was interrogated for hours and her hands and feet were tied and they repeatedly insisted that she tell them “her real identity.” Exhausted, said Alfaro in a recent sworn statement, she gave them the name of her sister and they let her go, deporting her.

Nevertheless, after this, she received another passport and entered the United States two times without any problems.

“All of the evidence, which the authorities have had to have seen, indicates that she is a citizen of the United States”, said Johnson, who currently represents her. “In 1998 they did not believe her because she did speak any English. The problem was that there was not one bit of due process.

Blanca Alfaro is waiting to see if her latest request will bear fruit so that she is given her passport which, she alleges, she has a right to have.

United States citizens deported. 

On other occasions it has been reported that United States citizens have been deported by the authorities. Just this last week the New Yorker magazine published an extensive profile on the mentally disabled man named Mark Lyttle, who was deported to Mexico because of a “bureacratic error.”  The man had no Mexican ancestry and did not even speak Spanish yet he was detained for 51 days before being deported and wandered around Mexico and Central America for 125 days, before he was able to return to Texas. Finally, the government gave him monetary compensation without admitting wrongdoing.

Jaime Diez, an immigration attorney in South Texas, told La Opinion, that he has represented at least 10 cases in the area where individuals were persecuted by the authorities because they were delivered by midwives and not in hospitals, which is common in certain parts of Texas. “We have seen many cases where the government has confiscated passports and deported them or have forced them by intimidation to admit that they were not born here.”, said Diez. “I have at been successful in 10 cases but I have seen many more of these types of cases.”

According to TRAC, Transaction Records Acces Clearinghouse, an institution dedicated to the analysis of government data, the United States Government has issued orders to detain “suspected noncitizens” for more than 800 U.S. citizens between 2008 and 2012.