A South Florida man was deported to Honduras – and then brought back to this country by the U.S. government, his family says.
Johnan Barahona is a man in limbo after he was deported to his native country by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which then turned around and said it would help him return to the U.S.
He was allowed to fly back to the U.S. but is being held at the Broward Transition Center in Pompano Beach.
Barahona’s lawyer said the government broke the law when it deported the 31-year-old man, who has a 5-year-old daughter, this summer.
“There was an automatic stay pending at the time that he was taken to the airport and removed to Honduras,” Mayra Joli said.
She said Barahona, who came to the U.S. as a teenager, qualifies to stay in this country under three separate provisions, but was removed before he had a chance for his final appeal. Paperwork she filed should have gotten him a chance to present his case in court, she said.
But in a rarely seen move, the government said in writing said that it would help Barahona come back to the U.S., according to an email obtained by NBC 6 South Florida.
“On the advice of our Deputy Chief Counsel, we will try to facilitate your client’s return,” ICE deportation officer Anthony Clarke wrote to Joli after Barahona was sent to Honduras. “For this, we require your assistance in contacting him so we may direct him to the nearest U.S. Consulate and begin the process.”
Joli and other immigration attorneys said they haven’t seen ICE aid someone's return after he has already deported – until now.
“Never, I haven’t ever seen it. I don't know anybody who has,” Joli said.
Barahona’s family said they thought he would be released at Miami International Airport, but now three weeks have gone by and they haven’t seen him.
ICE said in a statement Monday afternoon that it was not aware of Joli’s court motion “and proceeded with Mr. Barahona’s removal from the United States early on the morning of Monday, July 23, 2012.”
The agency said it learned later the same day that the motion had been filed, so a stay on Barahona’s deportation was in effect. ICE said it facilitated his return on Aug. 22.
Barahona has not been released from the Pompano Beach facility because of a 2007 conviction he has for driving under the influence, but he will have a hearing, ICE said.