ICE ignoring Mattis directive to not deport veterans in specific case: report

ICE ignoring Mattis directive to not deport veterans in specific case: report

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ignored an order from Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default Pentagon chiefs say debt default could risk national security MORE not to deport veterans in the specific case of a Chinese immigrant, according to The Washington Post.

The Post reports that Xilong Zhu enlisted in the Army and enrolled at the University of Northern New Jersey, a university which was allegedly created by the Department of Homeland Security to appear as a real school in an attempt to catch people who were issued fraudulent student visas.

Enrolling in the university allowed Zhu to enroll in basic training using the legal status he received by getting a student visa.


However, ICE reportedly asked the Army to release him for alleged visa fraud and he was detained and honorably discharged in November of 2016.

He was released after three weeks and is currently waiting for a Seattle judge to issue a ruling on his removal proceedings, according to the Post.

“Xilong Zhu, a citizen and national of China, was admitted to the U.S. as an F-1 nonimmigrant student in August 2013, but failed to maintain or comply with the conditions of his nonimmigrant status. As a result, on Nov. 10, 2016, ICE issued him a notice to appear in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act. His immigration proceedings are ongoing," an ICE spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. 

Zhu's attorney says his client is a victim of federal entrapment and that Zhu did not know that the school was fake when he enrolled.

Mattis has said he would work to shield immigrant recruits who enroll through a program made to trade expedited citizenship for medical and language skills.

“Anyone with an honorable discharge ... will not be subject to any kind of deportation,” Mattis said in February.

Mattis said there would be some exceptions, including for criminals, but Zhu’s lawyer told the Post the exceptions do not apply to his client.

ICE assistant chief counsel Jordan Jones said in court filings on March 29 that Mattis was referencing recruits who illegally came to the U.S. when they were children and enlisted later through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The report comes as the Trump administration has expressed a desire for judges to rule quickly on deportation actions.

Updated at 1:34 p.m.