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Immigrant faces deportation in underage sex case

Immigration Services

Immigrants in Kentucky who have permanent residency may be interested to hear that on Feb. 27, the Supreme Court heard a case that had to do with a permanent resident who was facing deportation. The man had been convicted in California after having sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend. He was 20 and 21 at the time, and according to California law, if an individual is under 18 and there is more than a three-year age difference with the person they are having sex with, the act is criminal.

The man has lived in the United States since he was 12, and he served 90 days in California after pleading no contest. Deportation proceedings against him began after he moved to Michigan. However, he is arguing that under federal law and the laws of more than 40 states, his offense was a less serious one.

The justices seemed largely sympathetic toward the man's case although they will not issue their ruling until June. Ultimately, immigration law is unclear on the subject although the Trump administration is encouraging more deportations. An immigration judge, the Board of Immigration Appeals and a federal appeals court all agreed the man should be deported. The man's attorney said that deferring to the immigration board would be a departure from previous cases.

People who are facing deportation and removal may want to consult an attorney. Laws are changing rapidly, and some cases may be complex enough that they will go through multiple levels of the court system as this one did. Furthermore, there may be avenues of preventing deportation that an individual might be unaware of. For example, it might be possible to seek asylum. There are other avenues that may allow an individual to apply for citizenship or permanent residency, but these may also be undergoing change.

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