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Feds Settle After Deporting Man With Disabilities

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An American citizen with disabilities who was deported and left to wander in Central America for months will receive a six-figure payout from the U.S. government, lawyers say.

Mark Lyttle, who has bipolar disorder and cognitive disabilities, will receive $175,000 in damages from the federal government, his attorneys say.

The settlement comes after Lyttle who was born in North Carolina and has no ties to Mexico, was referred to federal immigration officials in 2008 suspected of being an undocumented immigrant from south of the border.

Without the aid of a lawyer, Lyttle was convinced to sign a document admitting that he was from Mexico. He was then deported, ultimately spending 125 days wandering through Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua where he slept in streets and endured abuse, according to lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union who represent Lyttle.

Eventually, Lyttle was able to return to the United States with the aid of a U.S. embassy official in Guatemala.

“What happened to Mark Lyttle is outrageous and unconstitutional,” said Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “People with mental disabilities are entitled to due process in immigration court, and it is fundamentally unfair, as well as inhumane, to force them to endure such proceedings alone, without the assistance of a lawyer.”

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Comments (5 Responses)

  1. Al says:

    How can this happen here, being a father of a disabled child I am deeply disturbed by this act and the fact the govt coherced this individual to sign a document in which he had no idea of what he was signing. The officials involved in this travisty should be sanctioned and terminated for this action.

  2. Gary French says:

    I can’t help but wonder why only $175,000 in damages.

  3. Kathy Dooley says:

    Watch, now that he has $175,000, the gov’t will cut off any benefits he may have.

  4. Alan Kirby says:

    We need to find out who coerced this man to sign the document and start a national campaign to make certain he is fired from his job and that he is held fully responsible to the fullest extent of the law!

  5. pat m says:

    This man got only $175,000? He needed a better lawyer.

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