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Former CBP Agent Narrowly Escapes Deportation Himself

February 26, 2023 (2 min read)

Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, Feb. 26, 2023

"Raul Rodriguez says he’ll never forget the moment he realized his life was built on a lie. He was so shaken that he felt the blood rushing to his feet. In a matter of seconds, a family secret had shattered the way he saw the world and his place in it. “That day will never leave my mind. … It’s a terrible feeling,” he says. It all began in April 2018 when federal investigators showed him a shocking document: a Mexican birth certificate with his name on it. A conversation with his father soon afterward confirmed what Rodriguez had feared as soon as he saw the paperwork. The US birth certificate he’d used for decades was fraudulent. Rodriguez wasn’t a US citizen. He was an undocumented immigrant. ... Advocates feared his past work for CBP would make Rodriguez a target for cartels and other criminal organizations south of the border. They worked to sort out where he might be able to live safely. And as Rodriguez prepared to head to a key immigration court hearing in November, Vega tried to encourage him. “Whatever the outcome is, you’ll get through it. We’ll find a way to appeal it,” she told him. “Just don’t lose faith. You’re not alone.” Later that day, Vega says Rodriguez called her with exciting news. The judge had said she planned to rule in his favor and grant him cancellation of removal – a key step that would allow Rodriguez to become a legal US resident. But there was still a catch: The law allows only 4,000 of those cases to be approved each year, so once again, Rodriguez would have to wait. It could be years before he has a document declaring he’s in the country legally, and years after that until he’s able to become a US citizen. Every day, Rodriguez checks the immigration court website for more information. And every day, he sees the same word describing his case: “pending.” He knows this is his best shot for staying in the country; a previous application for citizenship through his wife was rejected. For years he says his case has faced unnecessary delays that made him feel like he was being punished even as he tried do the right thing. “All I was asking was, just treat me like everyone else. I served this country so many years. I think I deserve something – at least the chance to stay in it,” he says."