New Paltz man faces deportation over misdemeanor pot conviction

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NEW PALTZ – Joel Guerrero
of New Paltz is being held in a federal immigration detention facility
in New Jersey and faces possible deportation because he missed a 2011
court date after his conviction on a misdemeanor charge of possession
of marijuana.

He is a native of the Dominican Republican, who legally immigrated to
the United States with his family 20 years ago. He has a green card and
has been working in construction, Jessica, his wife of a little more than
two weeks told Mid-Hudson News on Thursday. A native of the Poughkeepsie-New
Paltz area, she is six months pregnant with their first child. They met
through friends one year ago.

“He’s not the same man as he was six years or 10 years ago,”
Mrs. Guerrero said. “He is a good man” who lives and breathes
his wife and unborn child, she said.

“If he voluntarily leaves, he won’t have the deportation on
his record and we would we would have more options in terms of countries
where we would be able to actually go,” she told Mid-Hudson News.
“If this happens and he is deported, I will absolutely go with him.
He is my husband. We are having a child together. This is my life. It’s
not what I want but I couldn’t be apart from him.”
Mrs. Guerrero has retained an immigration attorney and has been trying
to convince the Immigration and Naturalization authorities to allow him
to resume his life in his adopted homeland and not send him back to the
Dominican Republic.
The whole situation, though, is unnerving. “It’s tearing
apart a family,” she said.

The INS could not be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.