How One Marijuana Cigarette May Lead to Deportation
The New York Times
Jerry Lemaine, a legal resident from Haiti, with his mother, Marie Lemaine, far right; sister, Jane; and nephew Amarion.
By NINA BERNSTEIN
Published: March 30, 2010
ELMONT, N.Y. — When a police officer in this Long Island suburb found a marijuana cigarette in Jerry Lemaine’s pocket one night in January 2007, a Legal Aid lawyer counseled him to plead guilty. Under state statutes, the penalty was only a $100 fine, and though Mr. Lemaine had been caught with a small amount of marijuana years earlier as a teenager, that case had been dismissed. But Mr. Lemaine, a legal permanent resident, soon discovered that his quick guilty plea had dire consequences. Immigration authorities flew him in shackles to Texas, where he spent three years behind bars, including 10 months in solitary confinement, as he fought deportation to Haiti, the country he had left at age 3...link to complete article