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A taxi driver from Garden Grove who was detained on Monday by US immigration authorities during a check-in for an 18-year-old deportation order has outraged community activists who are demanding his release.
The 47-year-old Gurmukh Singh was detained because of a 1999 order that denied his initial request for asylum. Singh came to the United States in 1998 claiming he was fleeing persecution as a Sikh, but his application was not approved. After his case was referred to the immigration courts, Singh was issued a deportation order after he reportedly failed to show up for the hearing.
Singh says he only learned about his immigration status in 2013 when he was detained for the first time while attending an interview for an application of a green card filed by his U.S. citizen wife.
“We’re a nation of immigrants, but we’re also a nation of laws,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.
Singh remained in custody for more than five months.
Since learning of his immigration status, Singh has sought to get the 1999 order reviewed, but the courts rejected his efforts last month.
Immigration authorities said in a statement that Singh's case has gone through 'exhaustive review' by the U.S. courts which have repeatedly upheld the original 1999 order denying Singh asylum.