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Deportation defense not enough for FBI informant

Many people who come to this country are not just hoping for a better life, but to save their lives. Whether they are escaping a natural disaster, civil unrest, or direct threats of violence, they come to the United States believing they can improve their circumstances, and often that of their family's as well. Sadly, many of them face deportation once they arrive. That is the problem for one young man who was deported from New York recently. His deportation defense garnered sympathy from the judge in his case, but it was not enough to save him.

The man is originally from El Salvador. When he was very young, he was forced to join MS-13, a violent gang that forced him to kill a rival gang member as part of his initiation. Raised by his grandmother, he eventually fled to New York where his parents were living. MS-13 gang members in Long Island recognized him and threatened him with violence if he didn't join them there as well. Desperate to change his life, he became an FBI informant.

The information he provided was allegedly unhelpful, according to the FBI agent who worked with him. Law enforcement gave his file to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and he was put him in jail. The judge in his case was sympathetic and said he believed the young man wanted out of the gang. However, the judge also felt his hands were tied due to the two murders the young man had participated in -- unwillingly, he says -- in El Salvador. The man has since been deported and has gone into hiding.

Anyone here in New York who is concerned about being deported to a dangerous country may be able to get help by speaking with a knowledgeable immigration attorney. A lawyer can explain all of the legal rights and options before an undocumented immigrant. A comprehensive deportation defense could mean the difference between life and death.

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