While state legislators throughout the country move to legalize marijuana and expunge marijuana convictions, the case of one #NewJersey
father now on a path to deportation points to a wrinkle in any state law involving legal #weed
: Old #marijuana
convictions will continue to get immigrants deported.
Dane Foster, a 36-year-old father of four from #Westampton
, was arrested on December 4 after dropping off his 2-year-old daughter, Alaya, at daycare. “She’s inseparable from him, and she wanted him to take the ride to drop her off at daycare,” said Alexsa Foster, Dane’s wife.
With Alexsa Foster driving and her husband in the passenger seat, three agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement pulled the couple over after they had dropped their daughter off, saying they had an immigration warrant for his arrest.
Foster is a legal permanent resident who arrived in the #UnitedStates
in 1991, at the age of 11, and received his Green Card in 1997. His extended family left #Jamaica
years ago, and they now live in the U.S. “Where are you sending him back to?” Alexsa Foster said. “His family is here.”
Dane Foster has three marijuana convictions on his record from 2004, 2006, and 2014, according to his attorney, Afia Yunus. All were misdemeanors handled in municipal court and resulting in fines. Two involved driver’s license suspensions. None resulted in jail time.
But now, Foster is wearing a prison uniform and in lock-up at Essex County Correctional Facility, which holds as many as 800 immigrants at a time under a nearly $3 million-a-month contract with ICE.
In a statement, ICE said, “Dane Foster, a Jamaican national, is subject to removal from the U.S. based on his criminal history.”
The agency also pointed to a statute that reads: “Any alien who at any time after admission has been convicted of a violation...relating to a controlled substance...other than a single offense involving possession for one's own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana, is deportable.”