Some Deportations Illegal


Clarification of law means new hope for some area families

(Kansas City, Mo. February 6, 2007)

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling late last year makes illegal the deportation of thousands of individuals who have already had to leave the United States, and has implications that could affect many others seeking residency, naturalization or asylum.

The court’s 8-1 decision in Lopez v. Gonzales held that drug possession convictions that qualify as state felonies, but are considered misdemeanors under the Federal Controlled Substance Act, are not punishable under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, and do not qualify as “aggravated felonies.” Therefore, such convictions may not be used as grounds for deportation.

“This becomes important because thousands of folks were therefore illegally deported from the United States. So, we need to get the word out to folks who have these drug convictions that they may still be eligible to legalize their status. Whether they are in the country or out of the country, their may be a way to help them,” said Rekha Sharma-Crawford, a Kansas City-based immigration attorney.

This means that all state first-time drug simple possession offenses—except for possession of more than five grams of crack cocaine and possession of flunitrazepam—are not considered aggravated felonies by the Federal Controlled Substances Act, even if they are classified as a felony by the state.

Prior to the court’s recent ruling, an aggravated felony on an individual’s record would have disqualified lawful permanent residents seeking asylum or naturalization for discretionary cancellation of removal. Now, non-citizens convicted of a state first-time simple drug possession offense may be eligible to apply for cancellation of removal.

“After ten years of darkness, the Supreme Court has finally provided some hope for families where a non-citizen has made a single, simple error in judgment,” said Sharma-Crawford.

This ruling could have implications for many Kansas-City area families, whom Sharma-Crawford encourages to contact a qualified immigration attorney if one of their members has experienced, or is facing, removal based on a drug possession conviction.

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Circuit Court Denies Stay in Myrna Dick Deportation Case

Contact: Rekha Sharma-Crawford

Circuit Court Denies Stay in Myrna Dick Deportation Case

Petition Now Pending U.S. Supreme Court

Overland Park, KS (June 9, 2006) – The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis today denied the emergency application for stay of
deportation in the case of Myrna Dick. Dick is facing deportation on June 10 and is represented by the attorneys of Sharma-Crawford Law Firm. An application for stay is now pending a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. A petition for certiorari was also filed by Dick’s attorneys in response to the latest denial.

“We are disappointed but fully anticipated this decision,” said Rekha Sharma-Crawford who represents Myrna Dick in her efforts to remain in the U.S. “Our efforts are now focused on the U.S. Supreme Court and we remain hopeful for a positive response from the Court,” said Sharma-Crawford.

Unless the Supreme Court issues a stay in the next 24 hours, Dick will be deported back to her native Mexico. “Right now Myrna is surrounding herself with family, friends and supporters,” said Sharma-Crawford. “We will passionately pursue all legal remedies allowed under current law while Myrna focuses on her family.” Myrna and her family flew this morning to San Diego, Ca, a short drive from the US-Mexican border. Should no stay be granted by tomorrow night, Myrna will be driven across the border by her US citizen husband and 19-month-old US citizen son.

In preceding court action, the U.S. government has contended that Myrna Dick lied about her citizenship years earlier while crossing the U.S. Border. Dick and her defense team contend that Dick never lied and the evidence does not support the government claims.

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