Imagine being told by immigration officials you’re not a citizen of the country of your birth and that you’re going to be deported to a country you’ve never ever been to before and have no connections to.
In a case of mistaken identity which could have easily been avoided had officials listened, Philadelphia born and United States of America citizen Peter Sean Brown almost got deported to Jamaica, a country he had been to for just a day while on a cruise some years back, as reported by the Miami Herald.
Brown’s ordeal began when he turned himself in to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Florida in April for a probation violation after testing positive for marijuana. After he was booked while in custody, things took a sharp turn when he was told by officials the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had ordered for him to be further detained because his details matched a similar person who was wanted for deportation to his home country of Jamaica.
According to Brown, he told officials on countless occasions he was not the person they thought he was and that he was an American citizen but it all fell on deaf ears.
While challenging his deportation and still in custody, his probation was extended for another twelve months by a judge and ordered his release when he appeared before the Monroe County court for the probation hearing some weeks later, according to the Miami Herald. Instead of being released, he was transferred to the Krome Service Processing Center in Miami.
Brown was finally set free after a friend sent a copy of his birth certificate to the ICE.
In a video shared by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Brown recounted his ordeal describing it as “very scary”.
“When the realization of the severity of this situation sunk in, I felt totally, totally powerless.” He said. “There was a moment when I panicked. I went from angry – because nobody was listening to me – to a really frightful moment because I was literally told at one moment that I was to sign this paper, that they were tired of listening to me lying, and that I had three days and I was being sent back to Jamaica.”
ICE mistook Peter Brown’s identity and wanted to deport him to Jamaica — and this Florida sheriff illegally jailed him to help ICE out.
Peter repeatedly told the jail that he’s a US citizen, but no one listened. Now he’s suing. pic.twitter.com/IixjZviWUi
— ACLU (@ACLU) December 4, 2018
The ACLU, together with other firms, who are representing Brown, are suing the Monroe County Sheriff for violating his Fourth Amendment rights.