Immigration activists worry about deportation of soccer star with scholarship

ICE officers send 19-year-old student to face dangers in El Salvador

Courtesyof Bethesda Soccer Club
Courtesyof Bethesda Soccer Club

WASHINGTON – Lizandro Claros Saravia had a scholarship to Louisburg College in North Carolina. The 19-year-old student was a soccer star in high school. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement derailed his dreams.  

Claros Saravia, who also played for the Bethesda Soccer Club, didn't have a criminal record. His mother brought him to the United States when he was 10 years old, so that he could be safe from the gangs in El Salvador. 

"It doesn't matter who you are, what your ties are to the United States, whether or not you have a criminal history," Nick Katz, an activist with CASA, said. "They are not allowing people to stay."

Immigration activists from South Florida to California were alarmed at the unusual speed of the deportation. 

Claros Saravia was detained July 28 and was back in his native El Salvador Saturday. He was granted a stay of removal in 2013, but Katz said authorities denied his subsequent applications and asked them to leave the country last year.  

Claros Saravia also didn't qualify for President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that covers minors who arrived before June 15, 2007.

Claros Saravia won't be safe. MS-13, the dangerous gang that President Donald Trump's administration is working to eradicate from the U.S., turned El Salvador into a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world.   

The Washington Post reported his teammates protested his deportation outside of the Department of Homeland Security headquarters in Northwest Washington. 

Authorities also deported Claros Saravia's 22-year-old brother Diego Claros Saravia, who worked at a car repair shop and was planning to move to North Carolina to support his brother. 

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