News by VICE

ICE may have screwed up by deporting a dead soldier’s spouse

The man was dropped in Nogales, Mexico, and was living at a shelter for deported migrants

by Rex Santus
Apr 16 2019, 6:18pm

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported the widower of a U.S. soldier to Mexico last week, despite his legal permission to live in the United States, according to his attorney. The man was brought back to the U.S. and released on Monday.

ICE agents arrested Jose Gonzalez Carranza, 30, in Phoenix on April 8, Carranza’s lawyer Ezequiel Hernandez told numerous media publications. Two days later, Carranza was taken to Nogales, Mexico, as first reported by the Arizona Republic. Carranza told the Republic he was living at a shelter for deported migrants in Nogales, even though he did not know the city. It is unclear why ICE allowed Carranza to return to the United States, though his attorney believes it’s because the media brought attention to the story.

ICE does not yet have a statement on the situation.

“Once I have a statement to issue, I will be sure you receive it,” an ICE spokesperson told VICE News in an email.

Carranza entered the U.S. illegally in 2004 and later married Barbara Vieyra, a member of the Army who was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2010. Carranza and Vieyra have a daughter, who’s now 12 and reportedly lives with her grandparents.

"Pfc. Barbara Vieyra, 22, of Mesa, Arizona, died Sept. 18 of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked her unit using an improvised explosive device and rocket propelled grenade fire in Kunar province, Afghanistan. She was assigned to the 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas," according to Department of Defense records.

After Vieyra’s death, Carranza was allowed to remain in the United States after he was granted a “parole in place” status, according to reports, which allowed him to stay in the country without the looming threat of deportation.

But ICE apparently reopened a deportation case against Carranza in 2018. He did not show up to a court hearing, according to his attorney, because the court notice went to the wrong address.

Cover: Demonstrators standing with Occupy ICE NYC protest the detainment and deportation of immigrants at 201 Varick Street in New York City, US, on 25 June 2018. (Photo by Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)