Chairman Crowley Calls On DHS, ICE to Reverse Course on Deportation of September 11 Cleanup Worker

Jun 21, 2017 Issues: In the Community

(Washington, DC) – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY)has sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Servicesurging them to stop deportation efforts against a Queens man who aided in the cleanup of the World Trade Center site after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Carlos Humberto Cardona fled violence in Colombia nearly three decades ago,according to reports, and has been living in the United States with his wife, a U.S. citizen, since. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. immigration officials previously determined Mr. Cardona was not an immediate priority for deportation.

Mr. Cardona is seeking a state clemency bid against his deportation because of ongoing serious medical issues he has due to the cleanup work he did at the World Trade Center site. He’s being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in New Jersey.

“The immigration enforcement and deportation policies that the Department of Homeland Security has undertaken since the beginning of the year have struck fear and dismay into the hearts of my constituents, and this is just the latest in a long line of troubling actions,” Chairman Crowley wrote. “Deporting Mr. Cardona would send a chilling message not just to the immigrants who call our country home, but to all who would help when their country calls on them. This is not what the United States represents.”

Crowley is drafting legislation to ensure that each and every 9/11 cleanup worker is able to continue living and receiving medical treatment in the U.S., free from the threat of deportation.

The text of the letter is below. View it online.

June 20, 2017

Dear Secretary Kelly, Director Homan, and Acting Director McCament:

I am deeply concerned by reports that the Department of Homeland Security has detained and potentially begun deportation proceedings for Carlos Humberto Cardona, a constituent of mine who served our country as a cleanup worker at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. I strongly urge you to reconsider these actions and allow Mr. Cardona to remain in the U.S., his home of three decades.

In the days, weeks, and months after September 11, men and women of all backgrounds rushed to the World Trade Center site without hesitation. They put their own lives at risk to rescue others and to aid in recovery and rebuilding. Many of them, like Mr. Cardona, are now suffering from chronic health conditions like respiratory problems, lasting physical injuries, and cancer. After much debate, Congress permanently established the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to provide medical monitoring and treatment to these workers – an initiative that was sorely needed to fulfill our promises and show our respect to these workers who played an integral role at such a difficult time.

Mr. Cardona is deserving of our thanks - not the cold shoulder. It is unconscionable to deport a man who responded in our country’s time of need, who suffers chronic health conditions as a result, and whose treatment and care would be severely diminished should he be deported. Mr. Cardona has lived in the U.S. for three decades and is married to a U.S. citizen, and has previously been determined not to be an immediate priority for deportation.

The immigration enforcement and deportation policies that the Department of Homeland Security has undertaken since the beginning of the year have struck fear and dismay into the hearts of my constituents, and this is just the latest in a long line of troubling actions. As just one example, there have been numerous reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement presence at courthouses, including just recently near my district targeting a potential victim of human trafficking. These actions, targeting the most vulnerable in our communities and at sensitive locations, must come to a stop.

Deporting Mr. Cardona would send a chilling message not just to the immigrants who call our country home, but to all who would help when their country calls on them. This is not what the United States represents, and I once again strongly urge you to change course and allow Mr. Cardona – and all of those who served at Ground Zero – to live in peace, obtain medical care, and continue giving back to their communities here in the United States.

Sincerely,

Joseph Crowley

Member of Congress