Deportation for Drug Possession?

Today I am preparing for an immigration court trial that takes place later this week.

My client is from Honduras and has been a legal immigrant for over 15 years. He has been eligible for U.S.citizenship for many years but never applied. Has he applied and become a U.S.citizen, then he would have not been subject to these deportation proceedings.

He was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He plead guilty to the lesser offense of possession, but still must fight immigration allegations that he was “dealing.”

At trial this week, we will need to prove that he was not dealing cocaine, and that the large quantity he was charged with possessing was not his or otherwise not under his control.

Fortunately, a law known as cancellation of removal allows a judge to let our client keep his green card (legal immigrant status) if we can prove he’s not a dealer and that there are equities in his favor.

One final note, and that is, there is mandatory jail detention for any legal immigrant charged with a drug offense other than, perhaps, simple possession of a small quantity of marijuana. So, my client has been in immigration jail for many months, waiting for this trial which will get him released immediately if he wins.

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About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

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