As mentioned in a prior post, in October 2009, the Department of Homeland Security charged that General Jose Guillermo Garcia, who had been residing in the U.S. since his retirement from the Salvadoran military, was removable (or deportable) from the U.S. under the Immigration and Nationality Act on the grounds that he had committed, ordered, incited, or otherwise participated in torture and extrajudicial killings in El Salvador.
According to that post, on February 27, 2013, an immigration judge in Miami, Florida concluded a seven-day trial or hearing on these charges.
On February 26, 2014, the judge issued his 66-page decision in the case. The judge found that:
- “As head of the armed forces and the most powerful person in El Salvador, [García] fostered, and allowed to thrive, an institutional atmosphere in which the Salvadoran Armed Forces preyed upon defenseless civilians under the guise of fighting a war against communist subversives. Instead of institutional changes that would decrease the incidents of killings and torture by the military, [García] failed to stamp out death squads within the security forces. Likewise, despite contemporaneous evidence that members of the military had been involved in the  assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero,[] a man who could have been an ally in bringing about change and peace in El Salvador, [García] failed to adequately investigate.”
The judge also found that General García helped conceal the involvement of soldiers who killed four American churchwomen in 1980. In addition, he “knew or should have known” that army troops had slaughtered the villagers, including women and children, in the hamlet of El Mozote in 1981.
As a result, the judge ordered that Garcia should be removed (or deported) from the U.S. The lawyer for Mr. Garcia said there will be an appeal.