A Houston businessman and immigration activist who is also an illegal alien, is now in a federal detention center after inviting representatives of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to his town hall meeting.
Roland Gramajo is well-known in his community but apparently his immigration status was not. He has been living illegally in the United States for the last 15 years, the Houston Chronicle first reported Friday.
Gramajo’s information sharing session was scheduled in August and sought participation from immigration activists, members of Congress and ICE. (RELATED: ‘We Have No Other Choice’: ICE Chief Makes Case For Mass Deportation Of Illegal Migrants)
ICE apparently had not desired to talk but moved Gramajo to a detention center in Conroe, Texas where officials plan to deport him immediately. Along with his removal from the country, the illegal immigrant will not be able to legally re-enter the United States for 20 years.
Gramajo has already enlisted legal assistance. His lawyer, Raed Gonzalez, suggests his client would still be free if he hadn’t of drawn attention to himself with a town meeting that solicited the advice and direction of ICE officials.
“This is the problem with the policies of this administration,” Gonzalez, told The New York Times. “No discretion. Why are you not targeting traffickers? Drug dealers? It just doesn’t make any sense to get this guy that is working and paying taxes and has a family.” (RELATED: Deportation Rates Were Actually Higher During Obama Years: Report)
Target or not, ICE has been ordered to deport illegal aliens across the country and could potentially remove up to one million people.
Gramajo was the head of the Guatemalan Organizational Center, a group that advocates for the rights of asylum seekers. He has also been commended by the Houston city council for his work on community events.
ICE officials told the Chronicle that none of its agents attended Gramajo’s town hall in a professional capacity.
Gramajo’s wife, Espinosa, relayed at a Friday news conference that her husband had recently been told by an unidentified caller that his illegal status was known and would be reported to ICE.
“We believe in this case, particularly, that he was targeted by immigration and he was being followed,” she told reporters at the news conference, according to the Chronicle.
“He’s not a risk to anybody,” Gonzalez told the Chronicle. “This guy only has a very minor offense from when he was a kid. Exceptions have to be made, especially when so many U.S. citizens are involved. We’re talking about five kids.”