A man who worked on 9/11 recovery efforts and suffers respiratory issues from Ground Zero has been held for deportation to his native Colombia over a drug sales conviction 27 years ago.
Carlos Humberto Cardona, 48, was taken into custody in February and is being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey, his family told the New York Daily News.
Cardona was 17 when he came to America in 1986 from Colombia, where he feared for his life after his two older brothers were killed while working as police officers, his family said.
Carlos Humberto Cardona is seen with his infant daughter in this family photo from the late 1990s. Cardona now faces deportation over a drug sales conviction from 27 years ago
Cardona’s daughter Giselle, now 19, was shocked when he was detained at a routine appointment with immigration officials after his order of supervision was revoked in February
Cardona worked at Ground Zero doing cleanup work for Milro Construction after the 9/11 attacks, and has suffered respiratory illness since from the hazards at the site (file photo)
Cardona’s daughter Giselle pleaded for her dad’s release in an impassioned Facebook post
He pleaded guilty to a drug sales charge in 1990, and has had no convictions since then, said his wife Liliana, a naturalized US citizen who married him in 2013.
In May 2000, authorities entered a removal order for Cardona based on the conviction.
The order loomed as Cardona, who had a daughter to raise, worked at Ground Zero doing cleanup work for Milro Construction after the 9/11 attacks.
‘I can’t believe that this is happening to him after all of the sacrifices he has made. He says he feels like he’s being treated like a criminal,’ Cardona’s wife Liliana told the Daily News. ‘He’s suffering from depression being locked up in there.’
Cardona had been on an order of supervision since 2011, akin to parole with regular check-ins with federal immigration authorities.
But his detention came suddenly during a routine check-in appointment in February, his wife said.
Cardona married Liliana, a naturalized US citizen, in 2013. His lawyer has filed a motion seeking to expedite a 2014 application verifying the marriage, the first step to citizenship
Cardona, seen with his daughter, came to the US in 1987 from Colombia, where his older brothers were killed while working as police officers, his family says
Cardona’s order of supervision had been revoked under President Trump’s executive orders. He is one of approximately 41,300 taken into custody in the administration’s first 100 days
Cardona’s order of supervision had been revoked under President Trump’s executive orders, and he became one of approximately 41,300 illegal immigrants taken into custody in the first 100 days of the administration.
Cardona’s lawyer filed a motion seeking to expedite a 2014 application verifying his marriage to Liliana, the first step to citizenship. Clemency applications in the drug case are also pending with New York state.
‘Don’t kick out my dad and then not even help him with treatment expenses,’ Cardona’s 19-year-old daughter Giselle said in an impassioned Facebook post.
‘He’s very much an American,’ Rajesh Barua, Cardona’s attorney, told the Daily News.
‘He’s scared of going back to Colombia. He doesn’t know how he’ll maintain a living and what kind of treatment he’ll have for respiratory problems, which are very real.’