Venezuelan served sentence for drugs, now faces deportation after being arrested in Portland raid

Article author: 
Andrew Selsky
Article publisher: 
The Register Guard
Article date: 
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Article category: 
Article Body: 

SALEM — A Venezuelan man who is HIV positive and is in the United States legally was arrested in Portland in a pre-dawn raid because of a methamphetamine possession conviction, his immigration lawyer and a rights group said on Monday.

Luis Garcia, a nurse at a hospice center in Portland, now faces deportation to a country that is in an economic crisis, and where medicine is scarce.

“If he is deported to his native Venezuela, it will be a death sentence ... Venezuela will not provide him with the life-saving medications he needs to live with HIV,” the advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon said in a statement.

The group said Garcia was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Nov. 15...

Rose Richeson, spokeswoman for ICE’s Seattle office, said that based on Garcia’s felony conviction, the agency placed him in “removal proceedings” and has him in custody pending a decision by immigration courts.

N. David Shamloo, Garcia’s immigration attorney, said Garcia’s conviction for possessing methamphetamine made him subject to removal from the United States...

The lawyer said he is surprised that ICE didn’t grant Garcia supervised release, with electronic monitoring and weekly check-ins, as the agency could have done.

“He clearly had a job, no prior offenses, he had legal permanent residence status, and in fact this was a very minor offense,” Shamloo said, adding that Garcia had been put on probation for the offense....

Garcia entered the United States at age 17 on a tourist visa and attended nursing school in San Francisco, receiving a student visa, Basic Rights Oregon said. He works at a hospice center in Portland, the group said. Officials at the center declined to comment.

Earlier this month, another Oregonian — a man who was adopted from South Korea by Americans when he was 3 — was deported to his native country by ICE because of his criminal record....

On Nov. 10, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said there were about 41,000 people in U.S. immigration detention facilities. Many are new arrivals. In October, 46,195 people were apprehended along America’s southwest border, compared with 39,501 in September and 37,048 in August, he said.