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Hard hearts at the border

August 08, 2007

Just a few weeks ago, the chances of Pedro Guzman reuniting with his family seemed remote indeed. Guzman is an American citizen, but when he was arrested in May, a mental impairment may have prevented him from convincing immigration authorities of his legal status. So, rather than accord him his rights, the authorities assumed he was in the country illegally, took him to Tijuana and left him there. Desperate to bring him home, his family pleaded with the American government for help. The government refused.

Guzman's journey remains hard to reconstruct, but he eventually stumbled upon a border crossing in Calexico, where he was detained. Rather than admit their error, the authorities locked him up for missing probation hearings -- hearings he missed because the government had deported him.

Guzman was released, at last, on Tuesday, miraculously ending his three-month odyssey. For those who turned him out of his country because they couldn't understand him and assumed that he was foreign, Guzman's story should stand as a reminder of what happens when the hardhearted command America's borders.

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