Deported Veteran Returns to U.S. After Nearly 10-Year Exile

August 27, 2021

Cleary Gottlieb filed a successful motion to reopen and dismiss the removal proceedings of Howard Bailey, a U.S. Navy veteran and long-time lawful permanent resident of the United States who was deported to Jamaica in 2012.

As a result of the successful motion, Mr. Bailey returned to the United States in August 2021 and reunited with his family after nearly 10 years apart.

Shortly after he was honorably discharged from the Navy, Mr. Bailey was involved in what he describes as “an accidental encounter with someone else’s drug deal”: he agreed to receive a friend’s packages at his home without knowing that they contained marijuana. On the advice of his criminal counsel, Mr. Bailey pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He served a brief prison sentence and quickly rebuilt his life. He married a U.S. citizen, became the father to two U.S. citizen children, and started a successful trucking business. Seeking to formalize his place in U.S. society, he applied for citizenship 15 years after the marijuana incident and affirmatively disclosed his conviction. Thereafter, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents went to his home and arrested him in front of his family. He spent two years in immigration detention and was deported to Jamaica in May 2012.

In July 2021, Cleary filed a request for prosecutorial discretion with ICE, asking the agency to join a motion to the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen and dismiss Mr. Bailey’s removal proceedings. ICE agreed to the motion. The joint motion was subsequently granted, thereby restoring Mr. Bailey’s lawful permanent resident status. In addition to filing the joint motion, Cleary also filed an application for humanitarian parole for Mr. Bailey so he could immediately return to the U.S. The application was granted, and Mr. Bailey was paroled into the United States in August 2021.

Just Counsel LLC and Rapid Defense Network referred Mr. Bailey’s case to Cleary and served as co-counsel. Mr. Bailey recently testified about his deportation before a U.S. Senate subcommittee. His testimony is available here and begins at 51:40. Additional information about Mr. Bailey’s return to the United States is available here.