The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today’s winner is Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They get the award for the following.

FLORENCE, Ariz. — Thomas Warziniack was born in Minnesota and grew up in Georgia, but immigration authorities pronounced him an illegal immigrant from Russia.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has held Warziniack for weeks in an Arizona detention facility with the aim of deporting him to a country he’s never seen. 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.

On Thursday, Warziniack finally became a free man. Immigration officials released him after his family, who learned about his predicament from McClatchy, produced a birth certificate and after a U.S. senator demanded his release.

“The immigration agents told me they never make mistakes,” Warziniack said in an earlier phone interview from jail. “All I know is that somebody dropped the ball.”

The story of how immigration officials decided that a small-town drifter with a Southern accent was an illegal Russian immigrant illustrates how the federal government mistakenly detains and sometimes deports American citizens.

U.S. citizens who are mistakenly jailed by immigration authorities can get caught up in a nightmarish bureaucratic tangle in which they’re simply not believed.

An unpublished study by the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York nonprofit organization, in 2006 identified 125 people in immigration detention centers across the nation who immigration lawyers believed had valid U.S. citizenship claims.

Vera initially focused on six facilities where most of the cases surfaced. The organization later broadened its analysis to 12 sites and plans to track the outcome of all cases involving citizens.

Nina Siulc, the lead researcher, said she thinks that many more American citizens probably are being erroneously detained or deported every year because her assessment looked at only a small number of those in custody. Each year, about 280,000 people are held on immigration violations at 15 federal detention centers and more than 400 state and local contract facilities nationwide.

A US citizen spends 40 weeks in immigration detention. How many US citizens have been deported besides Jose Guzman? If its one you should be outraged, because none of us are safe if you get picked up by this agency. Read this statement.

“The burden of proof is on the individual to show they’re legally entitled to be in the United States,” said ICE spokeswoman Kice.

ICE doesn’t believe in innocent till proven guilty. We all should be very afraid. Reading this story, and the way conducts itself, there has to be more than one US citizen who has been deported.

Update- Kice is the same spokesperson who defended ICE in the matter of Jose Guzman.

Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the federal immigration agency, said it “had no reason to believe that it improperly removed” Mr. Guzman.

A lawless system with few or no safeguards. There are people out there who either will ignore news like this, or make excuses for ICE all in their craze to rid this country of illegal aliens. Sorry there is no excusing a government agency that is out of control. ICE has proved itself to be just that. That’s why they are again Today’s Knucklehead of the Day.

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