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   Any non-U.S. citizen - even Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) may be subject to removal (deportation) for what may seem to be even relatively trivial things. One of our recent clients was a long-time Green Card holder who has been in the USA since childhood. In fact, he is now the only member of his family who is not yet a U.S. citizen.

   Last year, he was arrested for possession of drugs. This was his second arrest, following a previous arrest and conviction for possession of drugs several years ago. The most recent arrest landed him in criminal court, but before he could actually be convicted, he was put into removal (deportation) proceedings in the Immigration Court. We were able to get an psychiatrist to examine him and testify as an expert witness; we demonstrated that his drug use was due to a chemical imbalance from which he was suffering. He hurt nobody but himself, and he was now ready to enter a treatment program to get clean once and for all.

   While the Immigration Judge was ready to grant him relief so that he could remain in the country, we were not satisfied with this, because we did not yet have the disposition (i.e., conviction or acquittal) from his most recent arrest. If he had gotten a second conviction after the Immigration Court had granted him relief, he would not have been eligible for immigration relief a second time.

   So what we did instead was got his Immigration Court case temporarily closed while he was transferred back to the custody of the State, so that he could finish up his criminal case. He ended up getting a conviction, but with time served, he did not have any further jail time.

   His Immigration Court case was then reopened, and we were able to secure relief for him. Now that he had no more outstanding criminal cases, we knew that his relief would be permanent, as long as he stayed out of trouble in the future. With his future in the United States now secured, he was now free to seek the treatment he very much needed and live up to his potential as a productive member of American society.

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