A Mexican man whose American wife voted for Donald Trump has been deported after decades living in the U.S.
Roberto Beristain, 43, who lived with his wife Helen and four American-born children in Mishawaka, Ind., had been in ICE custody since a routine check-in on February 6.
After weeks spent in detention facilities across multiple states, attorneys for Beristain said in a statement Wednesday that their client was taken across the border to Juarez, Mexico, late Tuesday.
"The Beristain Family is distraught this morning as the U.S. government conducted a middle-of-the-night deportation," wrote the attorneys, who referred to the move by ICE officials as "highly unusual."
This, despite his wife's belief that Trump's immigration crack-down would only be on who he referred to on the campaign trail as "bad hombres."
"We don't want to have cartels here, you don’t want to have drugs in your high schools, you don't want killers next to you," Helen Beristain told reporters. "You want to feel safe when you leave your house. I truly believe that. And, this is why I voted for Mr. Trump. [Trump] did say the good people would not be deported, the good people would be checked."
Beristain had been held at detention facilities in Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas. He argued that his removal order was legally improper, and had asked an immigration judge to rescind the removal order, and to order a stay of his removal.
However, he was deported before a judge could rule.
“They suddenly told me it was time to go," Roberto said. "They told me to get my stuff, they put me in the back of a van, and sped toward the border. They took me to another facility while in transport to sign paperwork. I asked to speak with my attorney, but was told there wasn’t time for that. At around 10:00 pm, I was dropped off at the Mexico-U.S. Border and walked into Mexico."
Officials learned of Beristain’s status in 2000 when, while on vacation at Niagara Falls, he and his wife accidentally crossed the border into Canada.
The couple tried to come back into the U.S., but border patrol agents denied him entry and placed a deportation order on him.
He was able to post bail and was told to voluntarily leave the U.S. within a month, but Beristain stayed.
"He was very nervous, but he had to stay because my mother was pregnant with my sister," his daughter said.
For years, Beristain reported for his annual U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement check-in without issue, but in February, he was arrested and detained.
"They said your husband has been detained due to a deportation 16 years ago,” Helen Beristain told WTIU-TV earlier this month. "And, I said, 'That's a joke.' And, they said, 'No, it's true.'"
ICE officials said in a statement that when Beristain failed to depart the United States by that time as required, his voluntary departure order reverted to a final order of removal.
An ICE spokeswoman out of El Paso declined to address Beristain's attorneys' allegations of misconduct but confirmed he was "turned over to Mexican authorities."