An unusual wrinkle in the nation’s apparent obsession with deportations recently hit the news. This blog has reported that removal proceedings resulted in a record number of deportations last year. Many deportations involve undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a crime. Typically, a person convicted of a crime is required to serve their prison sentence before being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.
However, many states are under their own budget crunches from the economic crisis. Here is where the unusual wrinkle comes in. A U.S. citizen was recently arrested in a Western state on drug charges. He reportedly lied to authorities that he was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and he supplied a fictitious name to authorities. He did so, hoping to avoid the criminal charges and face deportation, despite his citizenship.
The man’s plan reportedly seemed to work, at least for a time. Due to overcrowding in the state prison system, state officials turned the man over to immigration authorities, who removed him from the country. The man was deported to Mexico.
The plan reportedly fell apart, however, when he returned to the United States on his own passport. State officials caught up to him and arrested him all over again. He appeared in February on the criminal charges and reportedly admitted to the judge that he had lied about his identity in the deportation scheme. Immigration officials learned the man had legally returned to the country on his passport in June and ordered that he report to state officials. Apparently he did not do so.
His plan reportedly has the man in deeper water. Prosecutors charged him earlier this month with additional crimes related to the false identity scheme.
The man is not currently in custody, and a $50,000 warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Apparently ICE is aware of the case. A spokesperson for ICE says it is really not all that uncommon for people to lie about their nationality in the face of criminal charges, or to avoid conditions of probation. However, some experts say it is typically not a U.S. citizen that attempts to avoid a criminal issue by seeking deportation.
For most facing potential deportation, the situation is much different. U.S. immigration laws can be complex, and facing a removal hearing in an immigration court is something that many people seek competent advice in order to challenge a potential removal order. An experienced Miami removal defense attorney can provide guidance of U.S. immigration law.
Source: AP via NPR, “Man Avoids Jail By Faking Illegal Immigrant Status,” Nov. 3, 2011