Viral Media Report Says ICE Deported US Vet, But Fails to Tell the Whole Story


A Twitter post about the arrest and possible deportation of a U.S. Army veteran has gone viral, but it leaves out a vital part of the story: the veteran was placed in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody two years ago.

The misrepresentative tweet from Spencer Woodman, a reporter for the Internal Consortium of Investigative Journalists, has been shared with over 43,000 people.

“ICE has arrested a U.S. army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and has two U.S. citizen children,” he wrote.

Attached to the tweet is a Chicago Tribune article about Miguel Perez Jr., a green card holding veteran who recently appealed his deportation and has started a hunger strike in a Wisconsin detention facility, the Washington Examiner reported.

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“If it comes down to me being deported, I would rather leave this world in the country I gave my heart for,” Perez told the Chicago Tribune.

Many people, including former President Barack Obama’s spokesman Jon Favreau, replied to Woodman’s tweet with criticisms of President Donald Trump.

Others added to Favreau’s denouncement of Trump for the deportation after interpreting Woodman’s claim that “ICE has arrested” Perez to mean the arrest had occurred recently under the Trump administration, according to the Free Beacon.

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What they failed to realize is that Perez was targeted for deportation in 2016 during Obama’s presidency.

Perez, a U.S. Army veteran and green card holder, was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2008 after he “handed a laptop case containing cocaine to an undercover officer,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

He pleaded guilty to delivering less than 100 grams of cocaine, though he was found with more, and served half the sentence.

“Prosecutors also pointed out that Perez was given a general discharge from the military after a drug infraction,” the Tribune said.

According to Perez, he thought he became a U.S. citizen when he took the oath to protect the nation while serving in the Army.

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The oversight was realized shortly before his release in September 2016 when he was summoned to immigration court.

“Perez was placed in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and transferred to a Wisconsin detention center for immigrants awaiting deportation,” the Tribune reported.

According to U.S. immigration law, a non-U.S. citizen can be deported if he has been convicted of “selling, distributing, or possessing illegal drugs or ‘controlled substances.’”

This news has recently been brought back into the immigration discussion after Perez’s appeal to stay in the United States was rejected by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith