Tags: Judge | Halts | Deportation | Afghan | Felon

Judge Halts Deportation of Afghan Felon

Thursday, 24 January 2002 12:00 AM

Mirwais Ali, 22, of Madison, Wis., appeared before U.S. Immigration Judge James R. Fujimoto, who continued the case until Feb. 14. The Immigration and Naturalization Service initiated deportation proceedings after Ali finished serving a sentence for a felony drug conviction.

Attorney Taher Kameli blamed Ali's predicament on poor legal advice from a public defender in Wisconsin.

Ali came to the United States when he was one year old and never became a U.S. citizen.

Kameli said his client did not speak Farsi well and knew nothing about the culture of his native country.

"The think I am most worried about is with the U.S. government sending him back, with everything so unstable, the Afghan government would view him as a spy," Kameli told the Chicago Tribune.

INS spokeswoman Marilou Cabrera said Ali's situation was not unique. "As far as someone who is convicted of an aggravated felony, the law is pretty tough," she said.

Ali grew up in Madison. He was charged on Oct. 30, 1998, with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, Kameli said. He pleaded guilty Nov. 25, 1998, and was released from jail two months ago. Upon release, he was taken into custody by the INS.

Ali's mother, Saleh, became a naturalized citizen in 1991 but said she didn't realize her son would have to go through the process as well. "We always thought that since he came here as a child, he would be protected," she told the Tribune, adding that her son has no allegiance to Afghanistan and grew up like any other American child.

"My son is a very good kid. I don't know what happened. When he was in the 12th grade, his girlfriend and some bad associates sometimes took him to the wrong places and made him hang out with a bad crowd."

Ali's criminal record includes arrests for disorderly conduct and receiving stolen property, Kameli said.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Mirwais Ali, 22, of Madison, Wis., appeared before U.S. Immigration Judge James R. Fujimoto, who continued the case until Feb. 14. The Immigration and Naturalization Service initiated deportation proceedings after Ali finished serving a sentence for a felony drug...
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2002-00-24
Thursday, 24 January 2002 12:00 AM
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