A U.S. citizen was detained in a Florida prison and flagged for deportation despite his repeated pleas to authorities that he was American and the county’s own jail files indicating he was born in Philadelphia, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
NBC News reports Peter Sean Brown turned himself in to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office for a probation violation in April, after testing positive for marijuana. The 50-year-old, who had been living in Florida for the last 10 years, was soon a fast track to deportation to Jamaica.
"Despite his repeated protests to multiple jail officers, his offer to produce proof, and the jail’s own records, the Sheriff’s Office held Mr. Brown so that ICE could deport him to Jamaica — a country where he has never lived and knows no one," the suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
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After three weeks in jail, Brown was turned over to ICE, which eventually confirmed he was in fact a U.S. citizen and "hastily arranged for his release."
The lawsuit accuses the sheriff's office of "carelessly and aggressively" arresting people for ICE under what's known as a Basic Ordering Agreement between the two, where the sheriff's office receives $50 for each individual it holds at ICE's request.