California residents who lack legal status to stay in the United States may be deported at any time. In January 2018, a Michigan man who had been in the country for 30 years was deported to Mexico. However, he was allowed to return home in December 2019 after being granted waivers by the Department of Homeland Security. The man is now a permanent resident of the United States and is on a path to obtaining full citizenship.

The man was brought to the country as a 10-year-old and had been trying to obtain legal status since 2004. Had this individual been a year younger when entering the country, he likely would have qualified for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. A judge originally ordered him to return to Mexico in 2006, but he had received several stays of removal that allowed him to remain in the United States. He had no criminal record at the time of his removal.

However, tougher enforcement of immigration laws has been a top priority of the Trump administration. A representative of ICE said that it had not acted improperly since a judge had found him to be in the country unlawfully. The man’s story was picked up by several domestic and international news outlets, and the attention helped to put immigration laws in the national spotlight.

Individuals who wish to live or work legally in the United States may need to obtain permanent resident status. Doing so may also put a person on a path toward full citizenship. Those who have questions about their status in the country may want to talk with an attorney. Having those questions answered in a timely manner may minimize the chances of a person being removed from the country.