A Chicago man who was flagged as an illegal immigrant by a federal fingerprint sharing system is now suing the government for wrongfully detaining him in a maximum security prison for two months.
James Makowski, 25, a former marine, was born in Calcutta, India, but became a citizen when he was adopted by an American family. He was issued a U.S. citizenship certificate in 1989 and has lived here continuously since then.
In July of 2010, Makowski was arrested for selling heroin. He pleaded guilty on December of 2010 and was sentenced to seven years in prison. The judge offered him a deal, serve 120 days in a boot camp and he would be released on parole.
When he was transferred to the Statesville Correctional Center in Illinois he was flagged as an illegal immigrant and denied participation in the boot camp, despite assuring ICE of his legal status and showing them his U.S. passport. He was later transferred to a maximum security prison.
Secure Communities has been under scrutiny for fear of the problems Makowski encountered. Several states have opted out of participation in the program, but it will be mandatory by for all states by 2013. And if Makowski’s issue is any indication, the Secure Communities program will need to be revamped in order to prevent mistakes like this.
When faced with deportation it is necessary for the immigrant to retain an immigration attorney to defend them in court and possibly prevent the action.
The surest way to avoid detention or deportation is to enter the country legally and though the naturalization system is need of reform, it is in an individual’s best interest to retain and immigration lawyer to get the necessary legal documents such as an HB-1 or other temporary work visa or a green card.
Immigration attorneys are familiar with the laws and requirements for a legal presence in the U.S. and will guide their clients through the entire process and pave the way for citizenship.