When he was in prison, Lorenzo Palma strongly suspected he was an American citizen. He had spent his whole life in the United States, and he knew his grandfather was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1914.
Palma had served five years for an assault conviction and was about to be released on parole, but immigration officials had stopped his release because they wanted to deport him. They said he wasn’t a U.S. citizen.
So in the summer of 2014, Palma found himself among dozens of inmates about to face an immigration judge in Huntsville, Texas. “They would sit us by groups of 10 and they would start deporting left and right,” he said.
Getting the paperwork to prove his citizenship was hard: He didn’t have money to call his mother in El Paso, Texas, so he was forced to send letters asking her to find the documents.
When it was Palma’s turn in court, Judge Richard Walton was short. Palma tried to explain that he was an American. But Walton simply asked Palma if he wanted time to get a lawyer; Palma said yes. Court recordings obtained by NPR show that Palma then softly asked Walton what his chances were of staying in the country.
I’ve just returned from my week-long break in Mallorca - it was a break I really needed & I had a wonderful time! My highlight was seeing Palma Cathedral, and I returned with a book on Gaudí’s work on the building, it was a beautiful sight. I also hadn’t been to the beach in almost 4 years, but I adore the sea, so swimming in the National Park of Cala Mondrago was like returning home (…I like to think I am mermaid at heart).
I’ve returned to a flood of messages so will try to get through answering some of them over the next few days, and I’m also preparing to move back to Cambridge on 3rd October to begin my (final) Michaelmas Term, so its going to be quite a busy couple of weeks.
I’m incredibly excited to start third year: after a lovely summer I feel refreshed, and for once I actually feel prepared for the academic year. All that lounging on the beach over the past week/waiting in airports gave me ample time to get loads of holiday reading done.