Workplace raids and jail sweeps have become popular ways to enforce US immigration law, but they often result in the detention of legal residents, the Los Angeles Times reports. It can take months, sometimes years, to clear up, because many citizens don’t have proof of their legal status, few carry it around, and there’s no definitive database for officials to check.
Mistaken detentions are coming under increasing scrutiny as cases like Duarnis Perez’s emerge. Perez became a US citizen as a minor when his mother was naturalized, but he didn’t know it. He was deported, then imprisoned for 5 years upon his return before officials noticed he was a citizen. President Obama is expected limit workplace raids in favor of targeting employers.