A U.S. Army veteran who was convicted of attempting to sell two pounds of cocaine to an undercover officer was deported on Friday, and CNN is seemingly using the case to target U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
CNN reported that Miguel Perez, 39, who was born in Mexico and emigrated to the U.S. at age eight, was “escorted across the U.S.-Mexico border from Texas and handed over to Mexican authorities Friday.”
Buried in the ninth paragraph of the CNN article was the fact that in 2010, Perez was convicted in Cook County, Illinois on charges related to delivering more than two pounds of cocaine to an undercover officer. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and his green card was revoked.
Here is how serious having more than two pounds of cocaine is: The state of Illinois has five levels of penalties for cocaine possession — less than 15 grams is considered a class 4 felony; between 15-99 grams is a class 1 felony with a penalty of 4-15 years in prison; between 100-399 grams is a class 1 felony with a penalty of 6-30 years in prison; between 400-899 grams is a class 1 felony with a penalty of 8-40 years in prison, and the last level, 900 grams or more, is a class 1 felony with a penalty of 10-50 years in prison.
Two pounds of cocaine is equivalent to 907 grams, which is in the highest level of possession.
As CNN reported, Perez served in Afghanistan from October 2002 to April 2003 and from May to October 2003; he was given a general discharge in 2004 when he was caught smoking marijuana on base.
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) got involved:
Perez, who has two children, is not a U.S. citizen; he stated that he thought enlisting in the Army would automatically give him U.S. citizenship, according to his lawyer. ICE began deportation proceedings in 2013; he has been in the agency's custody since 2016.
According to Perez’ lawyer, his application for citizenship was denied in March because one of the provisions states that the applicant demonstrate "good moral character," and he had the prior drug conviction.
Nicole Alberico of Immigration and Customs Enforcement responded, "ICE exercises prosecutorial discretion, when appropriate, on a case-by-case basis for members of the armed forces who have served our country. ICE specifically identifies service in the U.S. military as a positive factor that is considered when deciding whether or not prosecutorial discretion should be exercised."