Palm Beach News

South Florida Immigration Officials Under Fire After Targeting Guatemalans in Jupiter

A Guatemalan immigrant in Jupiter is facing deportation after Federal Express employees in Riviera Beach opened a package, inspected its contents, then reported a possible illegal alien to immigration officials, who swooped in when a group of Guatemalans arrived to pick up the package on January 6.

The case, which appears in today's New York Times, has become a flashpoint in U.S.-Guatemala diplomacy due to the manner in which federal authorities received the evidence. The package in question was from a company that the Guatemalan government used to deliver new passports to citizens living abroad. Diplomats for the Central American country say that, whatever the immigration status of those citizens, FedEx employees and American officials had no right to seize the package and examine passports that were the property of Guatemalan government.

Two Guatemalans have been deported in the case and another, 21-year-old Damaris Roxana Vazquez, is awaiting deportation. Her 5-year-old son is a legal U.S. resident.

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Thomas Francis