Navy Veteran Deported after 40 Years in U.S.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Four decades after he legally immigrated to the U.S., Navy veteran Hilario Rivas-Melendrez was deported to Mexico for a crime he committed in 1980.
Rivas-Melendrez settled in the U.S. in 1970. About 10 years later, he was convicted of statutory rape in California.
But immigration officials did not learn of the conviction until 2009. By then, Rivas-Melendrez had served in the U.S. Navy, started a family, and found a steady job in Chicago.
He was arrested and appeared before an immigration judge, arguing the rape conviction did not constitute an aggravated felony. The judge disagreed and ordered the government to deport him back to Mexico.
Rivas-Melendrez petitioned a federal court in Illinois for habeas relief, but was denied by the district judge and then the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which said that the “situation was sympathetic” but affirmed the former decisions.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
No Relief Available to Expelled Immigrant (by Joseph Celentino, Courthouse News Service)



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