-But he’s married to you now, so doesn’t that make him a citizen automatically?
First, no one becomes a citizen “automatically” when they marry an American. They still have to go through the naturalization process, it just usually takes a shorter length of time. Second, a felony offense makes aliens ineligible to become a citizen, so even if he wanted to apply for citizenship now, he would almost definitely be denied. I wish though, this wasn’t so!
-How is Naz doing?
Naz and I are able to speak daily (for a price!). Most times we are positive and light-hearted, and even excited. But sometimes we express our feelings of sadness. I told him that I want him to truly feel this experience and not to suppress these emotions because God will carry him through this and I do not want him to return home with bitterness and resentment. He agreed. He is so grateful for all of the tremendous support from all of our friends, family, associates, schoolmates, colleagues, etc. Thank you all!!
-Was Naz was aware for the past 5 years that he violated residency conditions?
He clarified with me that he did not realize when he accepted the terms of his plea bargain, that this charge would be considered an “aggravated” felony in immigration court, thus rendering him immediately removable. He was told that it “could affect” his immigration status, however, nothing was said about the matter after that day. He came to America when he was 13 and did not remember all of the conditions of his residency that he agreed to. Even during the duration of his active addiction, it never occurred to him that his actions could lead to deportation. (But honestly, what person in the grips of such a destructive disease actually cares about the consequences?) Anyhow, Naz has been in the States since a young age, legally, and has completely assimilated to American culture. In his own words, “I didn’t realize I was different. I saw myself the same as the next guy.” He was aware his actions could get him arrested/imprisoned, but never deported. It’s not something that was a familiar concept to him. So this truly has come as a shock to us both. And to make it even more bizarre– Naz REAPPLIED for residency AFTER his arrest- and it was GRANTED. Are you telling me that the Department of Homeland Security did not do a background check on him before reinstating his green card? Yea…
-Why have they just now decided to pick him up?
Good question. We have our own ideas about it but here are some facts: Naz has been checking in with his probation officer faithfully and paying all fines, keeping his information updated, and making himself easy to find. He has not been in hiding at all, but I’m afraid that I.C.E. will make it look like this was some great “catch.” Immigration has had a negative image for deporting so many “innocent, hard-working undocumented immigrants.” So in an effort to change that, they are rounding up immigrants that have committed crimes, whether they are documented, residents, or not. I have spoken with someone who is in contact with the Administrator of I.C.E. and he said that he believes they are low on quota and they just chose to pick up my husband to increase their “numbers.” They knew he would be compliant and not a flight risk. This is the only explanation we can think of, as to why they would take him into custody 5 years later.
-Why did they not deport him immediately when he was convicted?
That’s a good question, too! Once again, I have my theories, but you can ask me personally.