Bogus social security numbers. Entered the country illegally.
Mejia illegally re-entered the US after being deported in 2001 and Rodrigo Nunez re-entered after being deported in 2001 and 2002.
Mejia and a coworker, Rodrigo Nuñez from Hayward — both undocumented immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico who have been in the United States for more than a decade — were detained on the base after a military official discovered they did not have valid social security numbers during a routine identification screening and reported them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
CE officials have placed both men in expedited deportation proceedings without a court hearing — known formally as “reinstatement” — because they each have old removal orders issued more than a decade ago after border agents caught them attempting to illegally cross the border. Neither of them has criminal records, according to their attorney.
Their plight has drawn sympathy and support from friends, neighbors and immigrant rights activists who say the men are being swept up in an illegal immigration crackdown that was supposed to focus on felons, not people whose only offense was entering the country illegally.
“The first thing that came to my mind was why me?” Mejia said in Spanish during a phone interview with this news organization from the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove, where he is being held.
“I’ve been here for 17 years and my record is excellent. I’ve never done anything to anyone. My bills are paid on time, I have a clean record, we’ve never asked the government for help.”
A spokeswoman for the air force base confirmed the incident in a prepared statement, saying, “As part of normal protocol, Security Forces personnel entered the individuals’ information into the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, which identified them as undocumented immigrants. Security Forces then telephoned Immigration Customs Enforcement, who confirmed the status of the individuals and responded to take custody.”
In a prepared statement, an ICE spokesman said the men were detained by deportation officers assigned to the agency’s Fugitive Operations team and “will remain in ICE custody pending court proceedings and it will be up to a judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review to determine whether they will be subject to removal from the U.S.” MercuryNews
Video: Undocumented Workers Detained Before Work At Travis Air Force Base