OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Immigration officials lied to an Oklahoma father of six who wanted to extend his permits to live and work in the U.S., telling him they'd grant the extensions if he came to their office but arresting and quickly deporting him instead, his lawyer said.
U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials say Luis Plaza Moreno, of Norman, was arrested Oct. 25 at an Oklahoma City immigration office after failing to report to ICE agents for more than three years. Moreno, 44, was deported Saturday to Mexico, said ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok.
Moreno's family and attorney say he was previously told he no longer had to report to ICE. His son, Luis Plaza Jr., said the family didn't know Moreno had been deported until he called after he arrived in Mexico.
"We couldn't get ahold of him because they moved him," Plaza said. "He called and said they dropped him off. They didn't even give us a chance to sort this out and fight the case. I just don't know why they made it so quick."
Moreno came to the U.S. illegally in 2002. His family and attorney, Giovanni Perry, said he was granted a stay of deportation in 2011 after being arrested for driving without a license and that he checked regularly with ICE until 2014, when Perry said she and Moreno visited an ICE office to inquire about an extension of the stay.
"'You're not a priority. We're not looking for you. Quit showing up. I don't want to hear about you anymore,'" Perry said an agent told them.
Perry said Moreno stayed away until last week, when he sought an extension of his work permit and of the stay and was told both would be granted if he came to the immigration office in person. When he arrived, he was arrested.
Perry said a request for another stay was filed after his arrest, but he was deported before it was considered.
She said the family has asked for assistance from the office of Sen. James Lankford, a Republican who is co-sponsor of a Senate bill that would provide a 15-year path to citizenship for some children who were brought by their parents to the country illegally when they were young.
"We are analyzing and researching the specifics of this case involving Luis Plaza Moreno," Lankford spokesman Aly Beley said Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press.