While anyone who commits a drug-related crime may face legal trouble, you may face particularly harsh consequences as an immigrant facing drug charges. Any drug violation has the capacity to lead to detention and deportation. In some cases, those deportations may permanently prevent you from ever returning to the United States.

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, drug violations have caused the deportation of 250,000 immigrants a year every year since 2007. Deportations due to drug crimes are also rising across the nation, with the number of immigrants deported for drug offenses rising 43% between 2007 and 2012.

The marijuana factor

Abstaining from marijuana use and possession is critical as an immigrant because simple marijuana possession is the most common drug-related cause of deportation in America. Between 2012 and 2013, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 13,000 for possessing a personal amount of marijuana. Simple marijuana possession is also the fourth-leading cause of all deportations nationwide.

The racial discrimination factor

Research also shows that you are more likely to be the target of U.S. drug enforcement efforts as a minority. Minorities experience higher drug arrest and incarceration rates than their white peers. This is not because they are more frequent drug offenders, but rather, because authorities concentrate their efforts more on urban areas and neighborhoods that are home to large concentrations of minorities.

The relocation factor

If you undergo deportation due to a drug violation, you may find yourself in a country where you no longer have close contacts or family members. You may also face safety threats, or you may encounter barriers when it comes to finding housing, food or health care services. Find more on this topic on our webpage.