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Immigration's eternal punishment

They say that once a person has committed a crime and then paid their debt to society, they can rejoin and resume their life. They can reintegrate and lead a full and productive life.

For an immigrant convicted of a crime, punishment can seemingly go on forever. Even after they have rebuilt their lives with education, family and a career, they can have it all torn apart by detention and deportation.

That is what a formerly incarcerated immigrant wrote recently for The Hill. Khalil A. Cumberbatch lives in New York City with his wife and daughters, working as an advocate for social justice. Back in 2003, at the age of 20, he made "a horrible decision" and committed a robbery. He paid for the crime, however, spending 6 years behind bars.

After his debt to society had been paid, he got a college degree, started a family and became an HIV/AIDS counselor. Two years ago, he was nearing completion of his master's degree when immigration agents showed up at his house and dragged him off.

Though the immigrant from Guyana was a lawful permanent resident with a green card, he learned that he was, because of his conviction, regardless subject to detention and deportation.

He wrote that he was only released after extraordinary community efforts persuaded immigration officials to make an exception of him and release him. He later received a pardon from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

For those immigrants not fortunate enough to have communities and organizations fighting for them, deportation is a very real possibility. A Staten Island immigration attorney can examine the circumstances of your situation and help you pursue viable legal options.

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