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March 31, 2010

Two mentally disabled Mexican immigrants released after long detention

Los Angeles Times | Andrew Becker


Two mentally disabled Mexican immigrants who spent years in detention facilities after completing their sentences for assault convictions were released Wednesday by U.S. immigration authorities, officials said.

Jose Franco-Gonzalez, 29, of Costa Mesa and Guillermo Gomez-Sanchez, 48, of San Bernardino each spent more than four years in detention facilities because authorities had deemed them mentally incompetent, their attorneys said.

Their deportation cases were suspended in 2005 and 2006 and not reopened for years. The men were then shuttled through a network of jails, psychiatric hospitals and detention centers.

"We're very pleased [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] reached this decision, but it's a shame it takes a federal lawsuit to do the right thing and come to a common-sense result," said attorney Talia Inlender of Public Counsel, one of a coalition of legal advocates that filed lawsuits on the men's behalf last week in federal court.

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