ICE trying to deport veteran after Mattis promised protection


Immigration and Customs Enforcement has sought the removal of Chinese immigrant honorably discharged from the United States Army despite orders from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to prevent the deportation of non ciziten veterans.

Xilong Zhu traveled to the United States in 2009 with the dreams of attending college and eventually enrolled at the University of Northern New Jersey — a front allegedly created by the Department of Homeland Security to uncover people handing out fraudulent student visas, the Washington Post reported.

After he graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin in 2013, the 27-year-old wanted to become a U.S. citizen and sought to enlist through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interests program. It offers expedited citizenship in exchange for language and medical skills less common in U.S. born recruits.

The program was temporarily on hold when Zhu attempted to apply, so he sought out guidance from immigrant consulting company, which directed him to University of Northern New Jersey, according to the Post.

He paid tuition long enough to ship off for basic training, but in 2016 ICE requested the Army release him for alleged visa fraud. Zhu left Fort Benning in Georgia in handcuff as an honorably discharged veteran on Nov. 16, 2016.

Faces of Trump's immigration crackdown:

He was released from custody a few weeks later and remains in Seattle, where he waits for a judge’s ruling on his removal proceedings. It comes months after Mattis vowed to protect immigrant recruits.

“Anyone who isn't in the delayed enlistment program or is already signed up and waiting to go into boot camp, anyone on active duty, anyone in the active reserves and anyone with an honorable discharge... will not be subject to any kind of deportation,” Mattis said in February.

He noted several exceptions, including for criminals — but Zhu’s lawyer said her client does not fall into any of those distinctions.

ICE in a statement said the Pentagon head was referring to DACA recipients, adding an honorable discharge does not bar an immigrant from being entered into removal proceedings.

“Xilong Zuh, a citizen and national of China, was admitted to the U.S. as an F-1 nonimmigrant student in August 2013, but failed to maintain or comply with the conditions of his nonimmigrant status,” an ICE spokesperson said in a statement.

“As a result, on Nov. 10, 2016, ICE issued him a notice to appear in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act. His immigrations proceedings are ongoing.”

Zhu’s attorney, Margaret Stock, told the Washington Post her client knew it would be “suicide” to knowingly attend a fake school as he would soon be screened by government agencies.

“Nobody knew the school was fake,” she said, arguing instead Zhu is victim of federal entrapment.

In October a class-action lawsuit alleging entrapment of students was dismissed because ICE had not decided whether it would be taking action.