Jerry’s Story: This article by Nina Bernstein of the New York Times reports on a green card holding legal resident who spent 3 years in jail awaiting a deportation hearing after a misdemeanor drug offense, because that offense, in combination with an earlier drug arrest, added up to what the government considered an “aggravated felony” that required automatic deportation. The article’s description of the government’s handling of the case–including considering his earlier minor drug offense a “conviction” even though the case had been dismissed–is positively Kafkaesque.
Many immigrants got caught in this draconian interpretation of the law. But there is now a potential remedy (if they appear before a sympathetic immigration judge): in July of 2010 the Supreme Court determined that legal residents with minor drug convictions are eligible to have an immigration judge weigh their offenses against other factors in their lives and decide whether to let them stay. The full story is here: Bernstein on Supreme Court Ruling