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Immigration-Related Arrests and Deportations Causing Fears in Community

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  "Families are being thrown back to their countries and then being murdered and killed, and then they lose a mother or father or both," said Dianna Hernandez Lopez.

Lopez showed up Tuesday at the Des Moines Field Office for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to challenge the office's practices. She recorded the encounter on video, which she then shared with Channel 13. Lopez believes her brother-in-law and the two men who were in his car and arrested by ICE agents on Tuesday morning were profiled and targeted because of the color of their skin.

"They had no order for arrest for anybody," said Lopez. "None that was in that vehicle. They never showed a paper. They never showed nothing. They pulled him over, simply, I feel 100% strong, because of their skin color."

Also on Tuesday night, family and friends of the late Manuel Cano, including his mother and three siblings, gathered for a bake sale fundraiser at Union Park to console each other and raise money for funeral expenses. Cano grew up in Des Moines, but was deported to Mexico three weeks ago. According to his family and friends, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was murdered by a cartel over the weekend.

"He came here when he was three," said Maria Cano, Manuel's younger sister. "He didn't really know Mexico. He was here his whole life."

"They found him," said Martha Miranda, Cano's friend, "found him dead, cut in pieces. Yes, the cartel, and they left a note on there."

Cano's family says he was part of the DACA program and should have been protected from deportation. Court records show Cano was charged with drunk driving and eluding in September of last year. ICE will not say whether the arrest and eventual conviction lead to his deportation.

*Editor's Note: This story was originally posted on May 22nd. After the initial airing and posting of this story, Channel 13 received a phone call from someone stating they were a family member of Manuel Antonio Cano-Pacheco. They claimed Cano-Pacheco had not technically been deported, even though other family members originally said he had. Due to the fact that a question was raised about whether Cano-Pacheco was in fact deported or instead voluntarily chose to leave the U.S. and go to Mexico, we decided to take the story down until we could find out exactly what had happened.

We have since received clarification from ICE about that process. As a result of this new information, we have decided to re-post the original story.

The following statement has been provided to Channel 13 by Shawn Neudauer, Public Affairs Officer for the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

“Manuel Antonio Cano-Pacheco, 19, from Mexico, was an illegal alien who was returned to Mexico on April 24, 2018, under escort by deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

"Cano-Pacheco illegally entered the U.S. with his parents on an unknown date. In May 2015, he was granted DACA status and employment authorization. In April 2017, ICE officers arrested Cano-Pacheco at the Polk County (Iowa) Jail following his conviction on a misdemeanor drug charge. About this same time, Cano-Pacheco was also convicted on a separate misdemeanor charge in Polk County. 

"ICE issued Cano-Pacheco a notice to appear before a federal immigration judge.  Based on his criminal convictions, his DACA status was terminated making him amenable to deportation.  After posting an immigration bond, he was released from ICE custody pending an immigration court hearing. 

"While awaiting his immigration hearing, Cano-Pacheco was convicted in Iowa of two more misdemeanors, including for driving under the influence.  On April 10, 2018, Cano-Pacheco requested and was granted voluntary departure, “under safeguards,” by a federal immigration judge. He returned to Mexico at the border in Laredo, Texas under ICE escort April 24.” 

Furthermore, an ICE official explained the following to Channel 13 about voluntary departure with safeguards:

"Aliens who are granted voluntary departure under safeguards are returned to their country of origin by ICE and are required to pay a fee to the government for the cost of ICE Air transportation. Departing the United States under these circumstances allows the alien to forgo receiving a final removal order.  An alien who receives a final order of removal may be barred from legally re-entering the United States for a period of time, up to life. 

"Individuals returned to their home countries are turned over to officials representing their countries of origin."