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Migrant Nation

'Naz' beats an immigration system slim on second chances

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


To pay their mortgage, she stretched her student loans to the limit and went deep into debt. She was diagnosed with depression. "Naz brought in something like 80 percent of our income," she said. "The situation was overwhelming."

But Naz's attorneys kept searching for ways to keep him from being deported, eventually deciding to challenge the original drug conviction. Eventually, a Cook County district attorney agreed to reopen the case when Naz's attorneys cited a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that defense attorneys must clearly spell out any impact to a client's immigration status before taking a plea deal. When they dug into the case there was no evidence Naz's attorney had done so. What's more, the sheriff's department couldn't find the evidence needed to rehear the case. The DA filed a motion to dismiss the seven-year-old drug charge, and immigration authorities cleared Naz to leave Pearsall earlier this month, after almost a year in immigrant detention.

Now together again in Waco, Hope and Naz know firsthand a troubling facet of current immigration policy: it's a system slim on second chances. Due to a glaring error by Naz's original defense team in 2007, and the tenacity of his defenders, he was lucky enough to get one. •

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