The U.S. deported a man to Mexico on Sunday who had taken a dead cousin's identity to pose as a citizen in order to become a Milwaukee police officer.
Oscar Ayala-Cornejo, 25, arrived late afternoon Sunday at Guadalajara's international airport, where he was greeted by nearly a dozen relatives. He was visibly tired after traveling for more than 10 hours from Milwaukee, but the reunion appeared to be joyous and hugs were exchanged.
Ayala-Cornejo said he was too tired to talk to reporters at the airport but indicated he would speak publicly in the coming days.
Police arrested Ayala-Cornejo on May 31 after an anonymous tip and charged him with falsely representing himself as an American citizen.
He accepted a plea deal, agreeing to be deported, and resigned from the Milwaukee police force. A judge sentenced Ayala-Cornejo last month to a year of probation.
No hard feelings
He was initially scheduled to return to Mexico on Saturday but dense fog in Wisconsin forced the cancellation of his flight.
In a cell phone interview as he arrived at the Milwaukee airport on Saturday, Ayala-Cornejo said he was sad to leave his family and friends but was optimistic. He plans to stay with relatives in Guadalajara and study computer engineering.
"I enjoyed my time here and I have no regrets," he said.
He said being a police officer was his dream job.
"I love this country," he said Saturday. "I love everything it has to offer."
Ayala-Cornejo's family moved to the U.S. from Guadalajara in 1992. He will be staying with relatives who remained behind.
Assumed ID of dead cousin
In a November, Ayala said his father helped him change his identity to Jose Morales, a cousin who was a U.S. citizen but who died as a child of stomach cancer.
He had told his father he wanted to become a police officer after the department recruited at his high school.
He said he would have had to go back to Mexico when he became an adult to wait years before becoming a citizen, and his father did not want to separate the family. His sister was married to a citizen, his brother was born in this country and his parents were on their way to becoming permanent residents.
His father died of leukemia in 2004, before he could see his son become a police officer that December.
Ayala does not hold his father responsible.
"The cards that we were dealt just weren't the best ones," he has said. "If I wouldn't have done this, I would still be in Mexico waiting to see if I could ever see my family."
His 27-year-old brother, Alex, was fired from the police department in September for lying about his brother's identity, but he won his job back this month, with a 10-day suspension without pay.