A Colombian immigrant, who helped remove hazardous rubble after the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011, will now reportedly face deportation. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents want him to be removed from the country on the basis of a 30-year-old criminal case.
Carlos Humberto Cardona from Queens didn’t care about his health when he headed toward Ground Zero after the attacks on the Twin Towers to help people out of the dreadful ordeal. He was also among the more than 40,000 people ICE took into custody during President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.
Cardona, now 48 years old, immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia in 1986 when he was only 17 years old. He fled his home country after violence killed two of his brothers who belonged to the police force. In 1990, Cardona was arrested after pleading guilty for a minor offense as he reportedly stood close to his friend who was selling drugs in New York.
According to his wife, Liliana, Cardona just happened to be there at the moment. “He was standing next to a friend when that happened. It wasn't his.” According to the Daily News, Cardona has had no convictions since then.
In May 2000, a Brooklyn court issued an order for Cardona’s removal. In 2001, ICE agents arrested Cardona but let him go on the same day after putting him on an order of supervision. The order stayed with Cardona during his cleanup efforts for Ground Zero through Milro Construction.
As per the court papers, Cardona got the order of supervision due to his “chronic respiratory problems caused by his time as a recovery worker.” Liliana mentioned how her husband suffered from adverse health effects after his recovery efforts at the Twin Towers.
“He inhaled fumes (at the World Trade Center site). His health ended up being affected. He has lung problems. He has gastrointestinal problems. He has psychological issues. He has a lot of anxiety,” she said.
Earlier this year, ICE revoked the supervision order, following Trump’s stringent immigration policies.
Cardona was taken into custody in February during a periodic check-in with immigration authorities. He is currently being held at Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey.
“I can’t believe that this is happening to him after all of the sacrifices he has made. He says he feels like he’s being treated like a criminal,” Liliana lamented. “He’s suffering from depression being locked up in there.”
She recalled the awful day when her husband left for a periodic check-in and never returned back.
“He called me and said, 'I have to go to court and check in.' He had gone so many times. He told me he wanted to fix his immigration status. ... He didn’t come home that day. He was taken to a detention center in New Jersey. He doesn’t deserve this treatment. I just want to see him back home.”
Several people extended support for Cardona on Twitter.
This. Is. Fu&$. Up!!!... Carlos Humberto Cardona literally put his life on the line to help clean up/rebuild Ground Zero. He deserves better— Ricardo Luke (@Lukericardo) June 19, 2017
FREE Carlos Humberto Cardona of Queens, NY, @realDonaldTrump!— Reece Martin (@DReece_CA) June 19, 2017
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters