They Deport Russians, Don’t They?
Well, yes. Russians, Poles…whatever. Even when they were born in Minnesota.
The lead paragraph in this McClatchy report sets up the story: "Thomas Warziniack was born in Minnesota and grew up in Georgia, but immigration authorities pronounced him an illegal immigrant from Russia."
And, of course, you can guess what happened: "His jailers shrugged off Warziniack’s claims that he was an American citizen, even though they could have retrieved his Minnesota birth certificate in minutes and even though a Colorado court had concluded that he was a U.S. citizen a year before it shipped him to Arizona."
Warziniack had a drug problem. When arrested, he told authorities improbable stories of having swum ashore from a Russian submarine. Maybe he’d seen the Alan Arkin movie. But he had a southern accent and did not speak Russian. A Colorado court hearing his case figured out quickly that he was a U.S. citizen by birth. The court records, however, according to McClatchy, still list his his current location as "the Soviet Union."
That threw Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a loop, and Warziniack was almost deported, although not to the Soviet Union, saved at the last moment by a birth certificate that ICE at first did not credit.
An attorney at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College says she has identified at least seven U.S. citizens whom ICE has mistakenly deported since 2000.