Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week deported the husband of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, but just days later the agency reversed course.
Jose Gonzalez Carranza, a 30-year-old welder living in Phoenix, Arizona, was allowed to re-enter the United States Monday afternoon through the port of entry in Nogales, Arizona, four days after he was deported to a shelter for migrants in Nogales, Mexico — a city he has never known.
Gonzalez Carranza entered the country illegally in 2004, and was married to Army Pfc. Barbara Vieyra, who was killed in 2010 in an insurgent attack when she was just 22 years old. Together, they have a 12-year-old U.S. citizen daughter, Evelyn Gonzalez Vieyra. Evelyn, who lives primarily with her grandparents, was not told that her father had been deported. According to Arizona Central, Gonzalez Carranza didn’t want to tell her for fear of adding to the trauma they experienced together following the death of her mother.
“There are plenty of people you can go after, but not a guy whose wife died in Afghanistan,” he told the outlet.
Gonzalez Carranza was never told exactly why he was allowed to re-enter the United States, but told the press he believes it was due to media pressure and grassroots support.
After the death of his wife, Gonzalez Carranza was granted “parole in place,” which protects undocumented immigrants from deportation. As a result, an immigration judge terminated the deportation proceedings against him. For years, Gonzalez Carranza looked after his daughter and continued to live in the United States while undocumented.
ICE, however, refiled his case in 2018 and he was ordered to appear in court last December, but Gonzalez Carranza failed to attend. He told The Arizona Republic that the notice to appear was sent to the wrong address and that he was, therefore, never informed of his court date. A missed day in court, however, gave ICE the power to order him deported, which is what happened last Thursday morning, when ICE agents appeared at Gonzalez Carranza’s door while he was on his way to work.
As the Military Times noted last year, the Trump administration, which has positioned itself has a champion for military veterans, has doubled down on requests made by immigrant veterans. As the news outlet reported, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data shows that the government has rejected a higher amount of requests by veteran and active-duty military spouses seeking protections for their undocumented spouses. Rejections of veteran requests have doubled since the last year of Obama’s presidency, from 10 percent to 20 percent through the first nine months of fiscal year 2018.
In August, the wife of a decorated U.S. Marine was deported to Mexico, leaving behind two children who are both U.S. citizens. Her undocumented status was revealed during a traffic stop, and apart from her illegal entry charge in 1998, she had no criminal record.
Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), who represents the district where she once lived, introduced the “Protect Patriot Spouses Act,” which would protect the spouses of a U.S. citizen who served, or is currently serving, in the armed forces. The bill has received bipartisan support, but no further action has been taken.