Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Immigration Corner | Family torn apart by man's deportation

Published:Tuesday | September 24, 2019 | 12:11 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

Last year June, my boyfriend was called into his probation office as he was placed on probation a few months prior for a crime he committed a year before. He was in full compliance, but ICE was there waiting for him and arrested him on the spot. His family and I wrote letters and attended his court hearing to testify on his behalf, but he was still deported after his asylum request was denied. He refused to appeal because he no longer wanted to be behind bars.

He was deported three months from the time he was arrested and it has been almost a year. This has literally torn him and his family and friends apart. He and I were involved for over a year and we considered getting married before he left, as I am an American citizen born and raised in the United States (US), but it never got that far. I would like to know if he has a chance to return to the States before the 10 years he was banned for? If so, can you please guide us in the right direction to begin the process? Thank you for hearing me out and I hope to hear from you soon.


Dear CJ,

Whatever crime your friend committed that made him deportable/removable from the United States also makes him inadmissible. It appears that your friend was unaware that his conviction would have made him removable. You did not indicate if he had a criminal and/or an immigration attorney during both his cases. If he took a plea deal to the criminal charges, it was required that he be notified that as a non-United States citizen, his plea could possibly lead to his removal from America.

It also appears that your friend and his family were surprised that he was taken into custody at his probation office. When a non-US citizen is convicted of a crime (by trial or by negotiated plea), it is important that persons are aware of their rights. In most jurisdictions, the defendant has to sign a Plea Form to acknowledge their understanding of the deportation possibility along with the rights they surrender when they take a plea. Some persons are of the mistaken belief that if they do not serve time in jail/prison, that if their conviction is a 'withhold of adjudication', or if they are on probation that they will not be subject to deportation. Successful completion of probation does not prevent deportation. Appropriate legal representation at each stage is necessary to ensure informed decisions.

For an attorney to begin to analyse his case at this stage, a lot more information would be needed to give you the answers you are seeking. It would require a detailed consultation and review of your friend’s files. There are some persons who can return to the United States after deportation, and others who can never return. The majority of those persons who are eligible to return after deportation will require a waiver of inadmissibility. If a person is deported from America and is ordered to remain outside the country for a specified amount of time, there is an additional waiver that can be submitted to request permission to return before the time stated. At no time should a deportee re-enter the United States without proper permission as that would result in a permanent bar to ever legally returning to America.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a mediator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com