I have entered the world of representing professional athletes and all I can think about is how fascinating it is to learn new things and help a new set of clientele. Let's face it the MLB has a lot of Foreign National players. I decided to research the immigrations laws. While I have been an attorney for the last 12 years and I have dealt with immigration as an ancillary issue, I needed to do an in-depth dive in order to advocate for every athlete I represent, irrespective of their nationality.
While searching the different types of visas and how to get a players' family to the United States (I'll post about that in another article), I came across reasons for deportation and I was astounded. So here's the list:
An arrest or conviction for crimes of moral turpitude- This is particularly alarming because moral turpitude is not readily defined. It can be as broad as lying or as extreme as being a murderer and everything in between.
Conviction of ANY felony- A felony is described by any crime that carries a possible penalty of more than 365 days in prison. So in Illinois, certain driving offenses like not having a license and driving if you do that a lot- you can be convicted of a felony. Certain DUIs are felonies. And I am sure other states have other petty offenses that you would be shocked were felonies.
More than 1 conviction of any offense- irrespective of the penalty you received. Didn't go to jail? Doesn't matter. If you are convicted of more than one offense you can be deported.
Control Substances- Convicted of any laws (State or federal) for possessing, selling or distributing a control substance other than a SINGLE offense involving one's own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana. That's pretty extreme! While marijuana is legal in many states it is not yet legal on a federal level. This means if you get caught more than once or have more than 30 grams of marijuana you can be deported. This one struck my attention because as of recent the MLB no longer recognizes marijuana as a prohibited substance. It is now treated like alcohol. So you may not get in trouble with the MLB but you may get in trouble with immigration.
Drug abusers or addicts- First this that popped into my mind when reading this rule was PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT DRUGS. In the age of technology everyone knows when a player is suspended for the use of performance enhancement drugs. If the MLB doesn't penalize you enough beware because this rule is very broad and if you are seen as a drug abuser it could lead to your deportation.
Possession of Firearms- I get it, you are a celebrity and you need to feel safe and protect yourself. But maybe let someone who is able to be licensed, carry and protect you because it can have grave consequences for you if you decide to do it on your own.
Misconduct against your family- Look everyone has had a heated argument with their significant other but all I am saying is be careful. Why? Domestic violence, stalking and child abuse whether a conviction is sustained can be cause for deportation. Also another thing worth noting here is violating an order of protection can also lead to deportation. In my career as a criminal defense attorneys I have seen this many times... Couple argues, client gets arrest, significant other gets an order of protection. Things cool off, but the OP is still in effect, the significant other calls and talks to client. Client thinking everything is cool goes over to their home. However, another argument happens and the police are called again. Now client has another charged... what for you may ask? They were just talking! Because there was an order of protection in place and until it is lifted you are not supposed to have ANY contact with your significant other. It doesn't matter if they called you. You weren't supposed to answer or go to see them. And doing so when you are not a citizen of the United States can have grave consequences.
Last but not least... getting any type of welfare ( or being a public charge as the government puts it) within five years of coming to the United States can lead to your deportation. So while the players in the Show may not have an issue with this... I think this is very important to know for the individuals in the minor league who may not be making as much on a consistent basis.
TAKEAWAY: While the likelihood of any of this actually happening may not be all that high- living in the spotlight gets you seen for the good or the bad so just be careful! Be very conscious about what you post on social media and the company you keep!