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Deported Vet Returns Home

August 27, 2021 (1 min read)

Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, Aug. 26, 2021

"Wednesday night it finally happened. For the first time in more than a decade, Howard Bailey slept well. For 11 years, Bailey spent the night hours fitful and frightened, remembering the 5:30 a.m. knock at the door that took everything from him — his kids, his marriage, his small trucking business, his Chesapeake home near Virginia’s Indian River. That knock in 2010 started the slow-motion unraveling of the life that Bailey, an immigrant who served in the U.S. Navy, had built on American soil. It began with his deportation for an old pot conviction and lasted a painful decade back in his native country, Jamaica, where he had no family and which he hadn’t seen since he was a teen. That nightmare ended this month, after Bailey testified before Congress, after his lawyers put in even more hours, after senators lobbied the Department of Homeland Security, and after we wrote about the horrible irony of marijuana becoming legal in Virginia while Bailey remained in exile for a very old — and pardoned — pot conviction. ... U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agreed to reopen his original deportation case and then agreed to dismiss it, said Nayna Gupta, associate director of policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center, one of the groups — along with the Immigrant Defense Project — helping his case. Then, the Board of Immigration Appeals officially dismissed the case. That meant that Bailey’s “lawful permanent resident” status got reinstated. The final barrier fell when the Department of Homeland Security granted him parole so that he could physically reenter the country, Gupta said."