It is hard to imagine that someone who has lived and worked in the United States since he was a baby and served in the Marine Corps for three years would ever be facing the possibility of deportation. But this is a reality for one 27-year-old man who was raised in California since he was an infant.
Despite having a permanent resident status, when the man attempted to reenter the United States after a visit to Mexico in December, officials flagged him. They found that his record showed he had a criminal conviction so they only permitted him to cross the border on a probationary status.
The conviction, an aggravated felony, was not exactly what it looked like on paper. It actually stemmed from a misdemeanor conviction that resulted from an altercation the man had been involved in years before. Despite what he said was merely an effort to defend himself in the fight, the man was sentenced to a year in jail. He was released after two days, when his sentence was waived.
Unbeknownst to the man, his misdemeanor charge was raised to an aggravated felony simply because he was convicted of a crime that carried the possibility of spending at least a year in jail.
Anyone who is facing the threat of deportation due to a criminal conviction might benefit from consulting with an immigration attorney. An experienced attorney can assist with the battle to stay in the country and offer advice about a possible path to citizenship.
Source: Lake County News, “Veteran faces potential deportation due to tougher immigration law interpretation,” Elizabeth Larson, Feb. 9, 2013