Mr. Omargharib was a lawful permanent resident for twenty-eight years and a successful hairdresser in Washington, D.C. for over ten years when he was detained. He was charged as a removable “aggravated felon” due to a larceny conviction for taking two pool cues following a dispute with an opponent in a local pool league. Mr. Omargharib served no jail time for his conviction. But he spent nearly two years in immigration detention before he was released and his removal case was terminated.
After five months of detention, the immigration court finally held a Joseph hearing for Mr. Omargharib, but rejected his arguments that his conviction was not an aggravated felony under correct application of the law and ordered his deportation.
In 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ultimately agreed with the argument Mr. Omargharib had advanced at his Joseph hearing nearly two years prior, holding that his conviction was not an aggravated felony. That decision confirmed that Mr. Omargharib had never been deportable – or detainable – at all.
Upon his release Mr. Omargharib had lost both his home and means of supporting himself. Unable to satisfy business expenses and child support while detained and unemployed, his credit was destroyed. He missed his son’s high school graduation and the two became estranged. In Mr. Omargharib’s prolonged absence from the community, his clientele left permanently for other salons and he was unable to replace them. Now homeless, Mr. Omargharib is temporarily sleeping in a friend’s basement in Virginia. He still plans on applying for citizenship within the year.