Even a minor drug charge in California has the potential to lead to big trouble if you are living in the United States as a non-citizen. Research and studies reveal that a high number of immigrants undergo automatic detention and deportation following drug offenses. Many immigrants who are deported back to their nations of origin never have the option of reentering the United States.
Per the Drug Policy Alliance, many immigrants deported for drug violations must return to their countries of origin even though they may have no family members, job prospects or other connections to the area. Many also have to leave their family members when doing so, including children they may have who were born in the United States.
Drug-related deportation statistics
Between 2007 and 2012, the United States deported more than 250,000 people following drug arrests. Drug-related deportations have also become increasingly common in recent years. During that same timeframe, the number of individuals deported after drug arrests rose 43%.
Common causes of drug-related deportation
Many of the non-citizens deported for drug offenses face minor drug charges, such as simple marijuana possession. In 2012 and 2013, there were more than 13,000 deportations involving individuals facing simple marijuana possession charges. In 2013, simple marijuana possession was the leading cause of drug-related deportation in the United States. It was also the fourth-most-common cause of all deportations, drug-related or not.
Any type of drug offense could potentially trigger automatic detention and deportation. This applies to all non-citizens and holds true even if you are living in the United States as a legal permanent resident.