US immigration officials say man who died in Honduras prison fire was wrongly deported

The Associated Press
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Immigration officials say they wrongly deported a Honduran citizen living in Los Angeles who then died in last month's huge prison fire in his native country.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told KPCC radio Friday that Nelson Avila-Lopez was mistakenly deported in October, probably because of communication problems between the agency and an immigration court that granted the 20-year-old Avila-Lopez a reprieve.

Avila-Lopez came to the U.S. illegally at 16 and was detained in September.

A court granted a stay delaying the deportation for review, after Avila-Lopez's lawyer argued he would face danger in Honduras. About two weeks later, Avila-Lopez was deported anyway.

Suspected of gang affiliation, Avila-Lopez was sent to the Comayagua farm prison, where on Feb. 14 he was one of 360 inmates killed in a fire.