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Bartow man faces deportation as illegal British immigrant

10:11 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. -- Last month, 45 year-old James Larry Bell Jr. was arrested on a misdemeanor for fighting with his brother. On Thursday night, he was still in the Bartow County Jail but not for the fight. 

It's because he's facing possible deportation as an illegal immigrant from Britain. The problem is he's never been outside Georgia, according to his family.

"I've been everywhere this morning, talking to everybody," his mother reassured him over speaker phone in her hand.

Brenda Sue Bell has been on the phone with her son James, and anyone else who'll listen, every day since he was arrested.

"Okay, momma," he said before hanging up. "I love you."
"I love you too," she replied.

The family's been trying to get him out of the jail, but they can't. That's because the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has a hold on him Bell. They say his fingerprints show that he's a British citizen who shouldn't be in America.

"It's definitely a nightmare. We go down there to get him out, and they say ICE has got a hold on him," said Bell's stepfather Allen Wood. 

"And then we figured out what ICE was and come to find out it's about immigration. And they say he's somebody else."

"I don't know what to think...we're just country people here and have never been outside the united states any of us..."

The family says the evidence supporting their son's American citizenship speaks for itself. Not the least of which are all the pictures chronicling Bell's entire life from childhood to an adult here in Georgia.

"I've sent his birth certificate, his social security numbers, his driver's license," said Sue Bell. For her efforts she says she was warned by ICE that fabricating identification paperwork is a felony.

"He was born right here," she said firmly. "Right here in Cartersville hospital." 

When asked if she can vouch for him as his mother, Bell chuckled knowingly. "Yes I sure can." 

11Alive News talked to an official with ICE tonight, who said the case is under investigation, adding that they have no idea why Bell's fingerprints would be flagged as belonging to a British national. ICE plans to meet with him Friday to try and get it all resolved.

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