While President Obama is pushing legislation to create an easier path to U.S. Citizenship, his administration is making it extremely difficult for anyone with a criminal history to gain legal status in this country. In my 18 years of practice as an attorney, I have never seen such an organized (immigration standard) effort to deport non-citizens, even those who have green cards and have been here for decades. A conviction for possession of a controlled substance, for example, can subject a non-citizen to removal (deportation) from the United States. In many cases, detained non-citizens will be ineligible for bail.
Currently, I am representing many clients who are incarcerated at the Adelanto Detention Facility near Victorville, CA. Most of these individuals are ineligible for bail because they have a conviction for possession of a controlled substance. In other words, they will have to remain in custody, even after they do their time for the underlying crime, until their immigration cases can be brought to a conclusion. This could take several months.
I know many people who have Lawful Permanent Status (Green Card) who put off the filing for U.S. Citizenship. All it takes is being in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e. a friend brings meth into your car and you get busted) and you could be facing removal from the United States.
If you, a loved one, or friend is in immigration custody, it’s imperative that they seek legal assistance from a attorney adept at Immigration Law. There are many nuances in Immigration Law that are nearly impossible for a lay person to navigate. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to give you the best possible chance of defending your case and obtaining and maintaining legal status in this country.
By: Peter Hosharian, Esq.
An immigration attorney of 19 years based in Los Angeles, CA.