A former prosecutor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in prison for forging a document to make it look like a Mexican citizen who wanted to stay in the U.S. was not eligible to do so.

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A former prosecutor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in prison for forging a document to make it look like a Mexican citizen who wanted to stay in the U.S. was not eligible to do so.

Jonathan Love pleaded guilty in January to the misdemeanor charge of depriving the rights of the Mexican man after reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Love was an assistant chief counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Seattle before his resignation in January.

In 2008, Love was assigned to the deportation case of Ignacio Lanuza, a Mexican construction worker who was in the U.S. illegally. Lanuza maintained that he was eligible for resident status because he was married to an American citizen and had been in the country for more than 10 consecutive years.

At a hearing in 2009, Love told the immigration judge that Lanuza had signed a waiver when he was stopped at the border in Nogales in 2000, which would have made him ineligible to ask that his removal to Mexico be canceled. Love presented the court with a copy of the waiver, called an I-826 form.

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Lanuza said he could not recall signing the form. However, an immigration judge found that Lanuza was not eligible to avoid his removal because he had not been in the U.S. for 10 years continuously.

After Lanuza appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, his attorney hired a forensic document examiner and discovered the form was a forgery. He then sought another immigration hearing.

The Board of Immigration Appeals, citing “the seriousness and particularity of the allegations,” found Lanuza had “provided evidence indicating that the [I-826] submitted by the [Department of Homeland Security] may not be a complete and accurate document,” and that it contained “anachronisms and other hallmarks which may suggest document tampering.”

The most obvious evidence that the document was not legitimate was that Homeland Security and ICE had not existed in 2000, and the I-826 form that Love said Lanuza had signed was not in use at that time.

With the form discredited, the board granted Lanuza lawful permanent-residence status.

Love, 58, acknowledged in January that he forged the document, making it look like Lanuza had left the country around 2000 and did not meet the eligibility requirement.