Many people assume you have to commit a serious crime to be deported. However, there has been an increased awareness recently for the plight of people facing deportation for minor offenses even after serving in the United States Military. Several individuals are taking up the cause to help those who have served in the military avoid deportation. Any Maryland veterans who are unsure of their immigration status may be interested in the recent cases garnering attention.
One man in particular moved to the United States when he was 4 years old, and he served honorably in the U.S. Army and the National Guard. He has since been deported back to Italy, where he does not speak the language, and has left a family behind here in this country. After serving in the military and before marrying and having a family, he was convicted of several crimes and served his time. The list of crimes that can make an immigrant eligible for deportation was expanded in 1996. It now includes the misdemeanors for which the man was convicted.
The man remained in detention for a year and a half. He says he filed for citizenship in 1982 but never heard more about it. However, his application was apparently deemed incomplete. His wife and student volunteers at Yale Law School are working for his return to this country.
The changing deportation laws and immigration procedures have confused and surprised many over the years. As immigration law is debated nationally, any Maryland immigrants who have served in the military may benefit from knowing their status and what they can do to protect their personal interests. As the list of offenses that can lead to deportation evolves, knowing the current statutes may also be of benefit to anyone whose status could be altered due to a criminal conviction or other problem.
Source: theday.com, Veterans expelled from U.S. for minor crimes fight deportation, Peggy McCarthy, Nov. 11, 2013