A former government attorney in Seattle pleaded guilty Friday to falsifying documents in a deportation case. KUOW’s race and culture reporter Liz Jones has been following this lawsuit.
The man set to be deported was Ignacio Lanuza. He has lived in Washington about 15 years and has two sons born here.
We spoke to him last year, after his attorneys discovered a possible forgery in the government’s case against him.
Lanuza: "It was a whole mix of feelings. I reacted with happiness, outrage, nervousness, sadness … crying."
The document in question was a lynchpin in his deportation case. In fact, an immigration judge in Seattle used it as the basis to order that Lanuza be deported in 2008.
Lanuza appealed and it was only later that his attorney noticed some irregularities in this key document. The case led to a federal criminal investigation of Jonathan Love, the attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was his job to make the case that Lanuza be deported.
Love now admits he fabricated this evidence. Based on a plea agreement, he faces up to a month in prison, a penalty of at least $12,000 to cover Lanuza’s legal fees, and his law license will be suspended for 10 years.
Federal immigration officials say they’ve thoroughly reviewed case files to ensure this is an isolated incident.
Meanwhile, a civil case against Love is still pending.
I’m Liz Jones, KUOW News.