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August 30, 2021

This Navy Veteran Was Deported Over a One-Time Marijuana Offense. After Nearly a Decade in Exile, He's Back in the U.S.
By Fiona Harrigan

"It's a joyous feeling today. I actually woke up in Virginia," Bailey said on a call hosted by the National Immigrant Justice Center this afternoon. "I'm still coming to grips that I'm actually home after fighting for so many years." Bailey is by no means alone in this misfortune. From 2003 to August 2018, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, over 45,000 people were deported for marijuana possession. And according to immigration lawyers and advocates, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has denied citizenship applications from immigrants who admit to using marijuana in states where it's legal. The agency requires that applicants have "good moral character." Even legally sanctioned behavior can come into conflict with such a subjective criterion.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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