The U.S. government admitted in April that it had wrongly deported an N.C. native, but newly released documents show that federal investigators ignored FBI records and other evidence showing that the man was a United States citizen.
At the time of Mark Lyttle’s deportation, immigration officials had criminal record checks that said he was a U.S. citizen. They had his Social Security number and the names of his parents. They had Lyttle’s own sworn statement that he had been born in Rowan County.
None of this stopped them from leaving Lyttle, a mentally ill American who speaks no Spanish, alone and penniless in Mexico, where he has no ties.
Lyttle’s 350-page Department of Homeland Security file, released to The (Raleigh) News & Observer, shows that the government deported him based entirely on some of his own conflicting statements, even though agents knew that Lyttle is bipolar and has a learning disability.
“I tried to tell them I was a U.S. citizen born right here in Rowan County,” Lyttle says now. “But no one believed me.”