By now, it is almost becoming routine for individuals in New York and New Jersey with drug related arrests and/or convictions to be detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Monmouth County Jail located at 1 Waterworks Road, Freehold, NJ 07728. Something tells me that the street name (“Waterworks Road”) may not entirely be a coincidence. If you have a loved one being detained there by ICE or DHS, you know exactly what I’m
talking about. It’s enough to bring anyone to tears. The last time I was there to visit a client, it actually took me close to an hour to locate my client. The warden and the deputies could not locate my client by name, nor could the ICE representative. Now, I asked myself, if I had such a difficult time just locating my client’s whereabouts, how helpless do the family members of the immigrant feel? Needless to say, I did not give up. I knew my client was being detained there and I was not going to allow anyone to tell me he was not there, especially when I drove all the way down from New York City. After much persistence, we were able to locate my client. This did teach me a valuable lesson about persistence. There are times when you feel like giving up, but things that are really valuable are never easy to achieve or gain.
In any event, let me continue with my story. I finally found my client, who by the way was scheduled to appear at the Immigration Court in New York City located at 201 Varick Street, New York, NY. I sat down and spoke with him at length and reminded him that his family and friends were very concerned and had hired me on his behalf. My client turned out to be a very charming and intelligent individual who happened to have gotten himself into trouble in the 1990’s. He had been arrested and convicted
of various drug related convictions. You may have heard that drug convictions in the immigration and deportation context is likely one of the worst types of convictions for immigration purposes. Rarely will you find anyone, including the Judge, that would be sympathetic to your case. What made this case worse was that there were actually drug related convictions that my client did not even remember which came to light after we appeared in Court. With that many serious convictions, the Court took the position that my client could not be released on bond and was subject to mandatory detention. Well, we did certainly argued that he was eligible for bond. Most importantly however, we never stopped fighting and moving forward. We reached out to the Department of Homeland Security lawyer (DHS) and attempted to convince them to consider dismissing or terminating the deportation case due to major equities in my clients case, including his full rehabilitation and strong family ties in the United States. We were delighted when we heard from DHS who informed us that they would consider a request to terminate the deportation case. The morale of the story is that you have to keep fighting even against hope and all odds.