Immigration issues affect countless Americans, even those we may never expect. Recently, it was reported that New York Jets football player Kenrick Ellis could face deportation depending on the outcome of a trial for an arrest that took place in April 2010. This is because Ellis was born in Jamaica and is not a United States citizen.
Ellis, who was a third-round draft pick in 2011, moved to the United States when he was 11-years-old and currently holds "permanent resident" status, which means that he can be deported if convicted of an aggravated felony.
A trial in the case was supposed to take place next week but has been rescheduled for November 28. However, that date would be in the middle of the NFL season, so it is likely that Ellis' attorney will end up asking for another continuance as well.
The charges stem from an arrest that occurred on April 12, 2010 by the Hampton University police department while Ellis was still a student there. It followed accusations that Ellis attacked another man, who was also a student at Hampton.
An immigration attorney interviewed by ESPN said that the fact that Ellis has been a permanent resident for more than five years will benefit him. As long as he is only convicted of a misdemeanor crime, which carries a sentence less than one year, it won't have any effect on his residency status. However, any repeat offense from there on out would make him eligible for deportation, the attorney said.
The immigration attorney said that the objective will be to work out a plea agreement that carries a sentence of less than a year, probation included, and is not characterized as an aggravated felony.
As you can see, if you hold a permanent resident status it is extremely important that you know the possible grounds for deportation. If you are accused of a crime as a permanent resident, it's important to have an attorney working on your behalf who knows how to avoid deportation.
Source: ESPN, "Kenrick Ellis gets trial rescheduled," Rich Cimini, 7/8/2011.