Convictions for certain crimes can lead to deportation. Even if a person is urged to plead guilty as a means of staying out of jail or accepting minimal consequences for a crime he or she claims to have not committed, any plea of guilty to a felony can open the door to deportation. Anyone in Maryland who is or has a loved one wrapped up in the legal system may want to learn more about the plight of a 21-year-old man currently facing deportation.
The 21-year-old was brought to the United States at the age of 12 with his family. They fled persecution based on political beliefs and came to the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo. After enrolling in a technical community college, the man was arrested for a role in the theft of a hat. He and two others were in a car with the hat that was alleged to have been stolen.
The man claims to have had no involvement in the theft. However, he accepted a plea bargain for lesser charges after one of the people arrested with him allegedly turned on him. He thought he would get probation, but the plea opened the door to deportation. He could be sent back to the Congo where he contends his life may be at risk due to his family's past.
Deportation can be a confusing and complicated process. Anyone at risk for deportation from Maryland or another state may want to be fully aware of which convictions can lead to the possibility of deportation. As noted in this case, the possibility of deportation at the time of a plea or trial may not always be fully explained. An immigration attorney will have the most up-to-date information and can help advise a client of his or her options.
Source: indyweek.com, "Because of a vague federal law, Raleigh man faces deportation back to his native Congo over a $50 hat", John H. Tucker, April 15, 2015