Alone and afraid, Mark Lyttle wandered south of the U.S-Mexican border for four months, sleeping in the streets, shelters and jails of Central America before the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala helped return him home.
The story you’re reading is premium content from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can now also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
Read MyAJC.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyAJC.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to AJC for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
AJC Print subscriber — I need to register my account for digital access.Access Digital
AJC Print subscriber — I’ve already registered my account.Sign In
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement provided prepared statements in response to questions from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for this article. Here are some excerpts:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes very seriously claims of U.S. citizens being improperly detained for immigration enforcement purposes. ICE processes an individual for removal only when all available information indicates that the individual is a foreign national. As a matter of law, the agency cannot assert its civil immigration enforcement authority to arrest and/or detain a United States citizen. …
In general, analyzing U.S. citizenship can often be very complex, relying on the individual’s reporting of their birth and immigration history, residency history, immigration status, marital status of one’s parents, and the ever-changing body of law that was in place at the time of one’s birth. This complexity means that some individuals don’t even know they are U.S. citizens until well after they are encountered by ICE. Moreover, ICE does not adjudicate U.S. citizenship. For this, we rely on the determinations made by [the Executive Office for Immigration Review.] Individuals have been removed by the agency based on their own consistent representations of alienage, and it has only come to light later, possibly after they reentered the United States surreptitiously, that they have a potential claim to U.S. citizenship.