A Miami dad, an immigrant from Argentina who was applying for permanent residency, lost his wallet this summer. When he got a phone call from someone saying it had been found, he went to collect it. To his surprise, he was greeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who detained him.
The man, Flavio Musmanno, has lived in the U.S. since 2000. Though his visa was expired, he is married to a U.S. citizen and was in the process of applying for permanent residency, Rise News first reported.
Musmanno was in Ohio doing construction work when he lost his wallet at a gas station. An hour later, he received a phone call from someone claiming to have found the wallet and offering to return it. But when he met with the individual on Aug. 28, he was arrested by ICE officials, according to The Miami New Times. He has been in custody since then and is expected to be deported to Argentina on Tuesday.
Musmanno’s stepdaughter Paola told the New Times that the ICE agents didn’t identify themselves on the phone. She also said Citizenship and Immigration Services recently confirmed that it received his petition for a green card.
“They just want to deport him,” Paola said. “They won’t tell us anything else. We sent them the petition he filed, but they just ignored it and keep saying they’re going to deport him. And things are not good where we came from — if people find out he was living in Miami, they might think he has money and try to rob him or kidnap him.”
In a Rise News video, Musmanno’s 15-year-old son, Francisco Musmanno, said he saw his father in an Ohio detention center.
“His fingers, his skin was peeling off because of the nervousness,” the teen said. “You could see that his movements just didn’t feel natural, he didn’t feel OK.”
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The family has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for legal costs.
“After letters of begging for [ICE officials] to reconsider, they denied his release & have decided to remove him from the country,” the page reads. “After hearing these heart breaking news we are asking for contributions.”
“He will be leaving behind his wife, 4 children and 2 grandchildren,” the family added.