A registered immigrant who helped clear debris and wreckage at Ground Zero following the September 11th terrorist attacks is currently being held at a correctional facility and threatened with deportation. Carlos Humberto Cardona, of Queens was detained after a voluntary check-in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “I can’t believe that this is happening to him after all of the sacrifices he has made,” his wife Liliana told New York’s Daily News. “He says he feels like he’s being treated like a criminal.”
Cardona fled his native Colombia in 1986 at the age of 17, following the deaths of two older brothers who worked for the police and were killed by anti-government rebels during the countries long-running civil war. He pleaded guilty to an attempted drug sales charge in 1990, which his wife claims was a matter of happenstance, saying, “He was standing next to a friend when that happened. It wasn't his.” Since then he has had other convictions. Due to his drug conviction, authorities entered a removal order on him. He was arrested by ICE agents in 2011, but subsequently released and granted an order of supervision, which required periodic check-ins with immigration authorities.
According to court papers, his order of supervision was the result of his work at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of 9/11, doing clean up work for Milro Construction. His wife said “His health ended up being affected. He has lung problems. He has gastrointestinal problems. He has psychological issues. He has a lot of anxiety.”
In January President Donald Trump signed an executive order pledging "all appropriate actions" to detain immigrants facing deportation. As a result, Cardona’s supervision order was revoked. In February, during a routine check-in with immigration authorities, Cardona was taken into custody and since then has been held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey. Attorney Rajesh Barua calls Cardona “very much an American,” and is working on his behalf to keep him in the country and resolve his immigration status.