Man Returns Home After Border Detention

by TChris

Andres Morales' family moved from Mexico to Hazlewood, Missouri when Andres was one year old. Andres never got around to acquiring citizenship, but Hazlewood is his home. When he returned from a recent visit to Mexico, he was detained at the border.

Immigration officials discovered he had pleaded guilty in 1998 of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute it, and served probation. He had the choice of remaining free to live in Mexico or accepting confinement in Texas while pressing his case to return here.

Andres chose to fight, and spent the next two months in detention. He had little choice; the alternative was to abandon his life. With the help of his attorney, Gene McNary, Morales was able to persuade a judge (over the prosecutor's inevitable objection) to let him withdraw his guilty plea.

The judge agreed that it was manifestly unjust for a guilty plea to lead to Morales' deportation when Morales hadn't been warned of that possibility. Andres isn't out of the woods (the prosecutor may insist on pursuing another conviction) but he is out of confinement, and back helping his mother at the family restaurant.

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