American citizen sues ICE following three week attempt to deport him to Jamaica
According to the Miami Herald, a 50-year-old man from Philadelphia who lives in the Florida Keys found himself on the fast track to a deportation to Jamaica, despite being an American citizen. Peter Sean Brown had only visited the country once on a cruise some years ago, but that did not stop U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from keeping him locked up for weeks as they worked to send him to Jamaica.
After Brown turned himself in for a probation violation in April after a positive drug test for marijuana, he thought would be in jail maybe a few days at the most. Instead he was held for three weeks as officials insisted he had immigrated illegally and worked to send him to Jamaica.
It took a friend of Brown giving a copy of his birth certificate to ICE before they released him. Now, Brown is suing Monroe County and Sheriff Rick Ramsay. Ramsay is denying he is at fault for the extended incarceration of Brown, releasing a statement: “This was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity by ICE regarding a subject who was initially in state custody for violating probation for a felony crime of violence against a police officer… I immediately took action when notified of this matter months ago,” Ramsay said. “I ordered Sheriff’s Office detention deputies to immediately notify ICE of a detainee’s claims of citizenship and to follow up with those claims.”
But Brown’s lawsuit indicates that Ramsay and his office knew at several points that he was a United States citizen. “The sheriff’s inmate file for Mr. Brown confirmed, in multiple places, that he was a U.S. citizen,” the suit reads. “The file lists his place of birth as ‘Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’ in capital letters. This file was available to jail staff throughout Mr. Brown’s detention.”
Brown was held at the Stock Island Detention Center but did not get a court date until April 26th when he was ordered by a county judge to be released. Brown’s fingerprints were shipped to the FBI, who then sent them to ICE, as they do all fingerprints from offenders, and ICE then sent Ramsay a final order of deportation. At the point when Brown was released from ICE custody, he was being held at the Krome Detention Center in Miami-Dade.
Brown released a video and a statement on Monday in which he states, “I would never have expected in a million years that this would happen… With policies like this and people implementing them like that, it’s only going to continue. There has to be a stop to it at some point before it becomes all of us.”
A Florida sheriff illegally jailed Peter Sean Brown, a United States citizen born in Philadelphia, so that ICE could deport him to Jamaica, a country he has no ties to.
It nearly worked. pic.twitter.com/IjhxwHoygP
— ACLU (@ACLU) December 5, 2018
Brown’s lawsuit states: “Nobody should have to endure what he endured… He was kept in jail — away from his family, friends, and work — solely to facilitate his illegal deportation from the United States.”