August 19, 2020

A Central American man was extrajudicially deported by ICE before having his scheduled day in immigration court. His illegal expulsion happened during an action that sent scores of detainees from Louisiana to Guatemala on an airplane, after they had tested positive for the coronavirus while in ICE detention, but later were deemed virus-free. The Intercept confirmed that one person was illegally deported in this manner, but there may have been more victims.

On August 19, Cesar Marroquín was put on a packed flight to Guatemala after spending five months in detention, waiting to pursue a claim for asylum and for protection against torture in his home country. By law, ICE cannot deport someone unless an immigration judge first orders their removal; ICE merely carries out the judges’ decisions. But before a judge could rule on whether or not Marroquín should be deported, ICE contravened the court’s authority and expelled him.

ICE has admitted to The Intercept that the expulsion was improper. In an emailed statement, agency spokesperson Bryan Cox said that Marroquín’s deportation resulted from an “administrative error” that is “exceedingly rare.” Cox did not respond when asked if other immigrants on the plane in addition to Marroquín were illegally deported.

Source: The Intercept, “ICE Admits Wrongful Deportation of Guatemalan Man”, October 2020. <>

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): ICE

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Inappropriate Deportation

Accountability Status: Shared with DHS OIG