U.S. error may have led to Salvadoran man's deportation

Jose C. Rodriguez-Portillo arrived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant, was caught and ordered deported by an immigration judge.

But that wasn't the complete story.

In a rare move, signaling a possible error on their part, U.S. immigration authorities have agreed to let Rodriguez-Portillo return to Miami because of his claims that he was, in fact, lawfully in the United States.

"ICE has decided to bring Mr. Jose Rodríguez-Portillo back to the U.S. to determine the validity of his allegations," Nicole Navas, an ICE spokeswoman in Miami, said in a statement. "In light of the pending litigation, however, we cannot comment further on the underlying facts of this case."

Rodríguez-Portillo's attorney, Eduardo Soto, said the federal government had overlooked evidence that his client was among thousands of Salvadorans granted temporary protected status, or TPS, in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes that struck the Central American country in 2001. He said he hopes to reunite his client with his family within days.

The story of Rodríguez-Portillo's deportation began Aug. 25 when he and his wife, Ivette Concepción Fernández, sat down for an interview with federal immigration officials.

The couple had met in Miami in 1998 and later got married.

They were hoping to get Rodríguez-Portillo permanent residency because she was already a U.S. citizen.

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