By Will Racke, DCNF
An Indiana restaurant owner who illegally immigrated to the U.S. nearly 20 years ago was shocked to find himself in deportation proceedings after a voluntary check-in with immigration authorities.
Roberto Beristain was detained after visiting an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Indianapolis in February, Yahoo News reported. He has since been transferred to a detention facility in Wisconsin, his family said, and is set to be deported on Friday.
Ironically, Beristain and his wife, Helen Beristain, supported President Donald Trump’s campaign and were glad to see him win the White House. They didn’t imagine his subsequent immigration enforcement orders would apply to cases like Roberto’s.
“We were for Mr. Trump,” “We were very happy he became the president,” said Helen Beristain in an interview with a local Indiana TV station. “Whatever he says, he is right. But, like he said, the good people have a chance to become citizens of the United States.”
Following through on a campaign promise to step up deportations of people living in the country without authorization, Trump issued guidance in February to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that expanded the categories of illegal immigrants who could be targeted for detention and removal.
A DHS fact sheet states, “all of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to enforcement proceedings” but placed an emphasis on illegal immigrants with criminal records.
Beristain, a 43-year-old father of three children, came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1998 and decided not to go back after visiting a relative in California. According to his immigration lawyer, Adam Ansari, Beristain has a legal Social Security number, work permit and driver’s license.
ICE has been aware of those identity documents since 2000, when Beristain was issued a voluntary deportation order, Ansari said.
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