Father of boy found abused in Mexico City is arrested by ICE, deported


The father of a 5-year-old boy found abused and neglected in Mexico City in June was arrested on his way to work in Escondido and deported by immigration agents Tuesday.

Pascual Castro, who was in the country illegally, had been deported nine times previously, according to a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was arrested during what spokeswoman Lauren Mack described as a “targeted enforcement action conducted by ICE Fugitive Operations.” He was deported under a prior notice of removal issued by an immigration judge.

In a phone interview from Tijuana on Wednesday, Castro said he was arrested on his way to work in the morning and sent back across the border that afternoon.


He said his plans are to get to Mexico City and pick up his son, Anthony. The child was found June 27 in the home of an aunt and uncle after police responded to a tip from a neighbor. His legs were chained, he was malnourished and he had been beaten, authorities said in a statement. Anthony was taken to a hospital and the two adults — Castro’s sister and her husband — were arrested and charged with abusing the child.

Anthony is out of the hospital and in the custody of Mexican child welfare authorities, said Victor Corzo, the acting consul general for Mexico in San Diego. Anthony has dual citizenship, and his fate likely will be resolved through the Mexican child welfare system. He could be returned to the U.S. or placed in foster care in Mexico.

Castro had sought help from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) after finding out the plight of his son. Castro has denied knowing anything about the abuse.

Issa’s office said the congressman had agreed to help Castro even though he is not a U.S. citizen. In a statement on July 6, Issa said the goal was to get Anthony “into a safe and stable environment where he can get the help he so desperately needs.”

Issa spokesman Calvin Moore did not respond to messages seeking comment on Castro’s deportation.

As the spouse of a citizen, Castro was trying to get legal status in the U.S and was seeking a green card, Corzo said. The Mexican Consulate had been helping Castro over the last month, but Corzo said officials were unaware that he had a deportation order pending.

Castro and the boy’s mother, Dawn Sanderson, are married but no longer together. Castro — who according to Sanderson’s mother had been awarded custody of the boy — said he hoped to return to the U.S. legally with Anthony in the future.

Moran writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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