Alex Timofeev has lived in Madison, WI for two decades. But he could be permanently sent back to Russia for smoking marijuana as a teenager. Although Timofeev served out his sentence for three marijuana possession charges accrued 15 years ago, he is now stuck in a deportation limbo.
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Timofeev, now a 35-year old father of two, recounted how his life was changed by an immigration law that allows the deportation of immigrants who who served time for any of a wide range of crimes, from shoplifting to drug possession to murder. Timofeev served his sentence years ago through a work release program and drug rehab, but did not know that pleading guilty at the time would put his immigration status in jeopardy.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents rang Timofeev’s doorbell at 9 a.m. in September 2012 without telling him the nature of their visit. It was only when he was arrested and en-route to the Milwaukee immigration center that the agents informed him that he could be deported because of the decades-old marijuana charges.
“I still don’t have an explanation for why it took them fifteen years,” Timofeev said. “At some point, my legal status was in some sort of limbo. At some point, they denied something somewhere. It’s not like I’m hiding anywhere. I don’t jump apartments and I don’t jump jobs.”
Timofeev was put into the immigration detention center housed within the Dodge County jail. “I spent four months in a cell with a solid metal bed with crappy mattresses, where lockdown was for three-fourths of the day,” he recalled. He shared two toilets with fifteen other men on his floor.
– Read the entire article at Think Progress.