When a technical problem emerged with his immigration status in September 2009, he was taken into custody by ICE. He spent 19 months in Stewart Detention Center fighting his case, away from his U.S.-citizen wife and three-year-old son.
Two misdemeanors for marijuana possession put a drag on his case, he said, and an immigration judge denied bail. "He said I was a high risk to society," Guzman said.
In May 2011, he was granted cancellation of removal after proving that his deportation would have created extreme hardship for his family. When he left detention, his son was five.
"Even as a detainee, you should still be treated with justice," he said. "The hardcore criminals, they're getting better privileges than us detainees...They're treating us like animals in cages."
UPDATE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Pedro Guzman had been granted asylum in May 2011. He was granted cancellation of removal based on the extreme hardship his deportation would have caused for his family.