Democrats Fall for Viral Tweet, Denounce Trump for Deportation Order Issued Under Obama

Miguel Perez poses as he holds a photo of his son Miguel Perez Jr. / Getty Images
February 2, 2018

A reporter's misleading tweet went viral this week, spreading the false implication that President Donald Trump was deporting an innocent veteran.

Spencer Woodman, a reporter with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, received more than 35,000 retweets when he shared the story of Miguel Perez, who he framed as "a U.S. army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and has two U.S. citizen children."

Twitter users–including several Democratic politicians–were outraged at the story of Perez's impending deportation.

But Woodman's tweet left off why the undocumented Perez was arrested: he was caught delivering cocaine to an undercover cop.

Perez was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he "handed a laptop case containing cocaine to an undercover officer" in 2008, according to the Chicago Tribune story Woodman linked to. Perez pleaded guilty to delivering less than 100 grams of cocaine, despite having been found with much more. He ultimately served half of that 15-year sentence.

"Prosecutors also pointed out that Perez was given a general discharge from the military after a drug infraction," the Tribune reports.

The majority of those sharing the tweet also understandably interpreted Woodman's claim that ICE "has arrested" Perez to mean the arrest had occurred recently under Trump.

But Perez was actually targeted for deportation and transferred to an ICE facility back in 2016 when President Barack Obama was still in office.

"Perez said he discovered the citizenship oversight when he was summoned to immigration court shortly before his September 2016 release from Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg," reported the Tribune. "Instead of heading home to Chicago from prison, Perez was placed in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and transferred to a Wisconsin detention center for immigrants awaiting deportation."

Among those on Twitter denouncing the Obama-era deportation order was former Obama staffer Jon Favreau.

Published under: ICE , Obama Administration