By Jon Eric Garde, Esq.
The Ghosts of Christmas past haunted a young immigrant mother of four. Darkness overcame her through addiction to prescription drugs, followed by shoplifting, criminal convictions, mandatory detention by Immigration authorities in Florida, and certain deportation. Her husband, a decorated veteran of Iraq, was transferred from Georgia to Texas to watch her youngest ones crying endlessly in despair for their mother.
A soldier was rendered unable to serve his country. His family was doomed. Then, God heard this young family’s cries. Prior to the woman’s detention, the US Supreme Court, by God’s grace, ruled that convictions causing certain deportation could be undone where the criminal judge had failed to warn that deportation would follow a guilty plea. Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010).
Your immigration attorney searched for and located criminal defense counsel in Georgia to amend his client’s conviction so that deportation was not required and a pardon would be available. Sadly, detention was required until a pardon was granted; yet, without a pardon, deportation awaited. With immigration court in Miami, she was detained two hours north, poised to appear only by video.
Counsel sojourned from Las Vegas to Miami and traveled again to prepare his client from her cell the night before presenting her case on December 22, 2010, when she was pardoned after seven months of detention to return home to her family in time for Christmas. She still qualifies for US citizenship. Grace prevailed.