Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pol's aide may get deported for pot bust in '80s (NY Daily News)

Pol's aide may get deported for pot bust in '80s

Thursday, May 22nd 2008, 4:00 AM

A high-ranking aide to Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James is in federal lockup in Manhattan awaiting deportation to Jamaica for a 23-year-old minor drug charge and for failing to attend an immigration hearing.

Raymond Martin, 44, was taken into custody last Thursday by Homeland Security officials for a 1985 pot bust and for failing to show for a 2001 immigration hearing, his lawyer and James told the Daily News.

"My office has been dealing with these type of sad cases since 2003, when these Draconian immigration laws came into effect, separating families and destroying people," said James, who has enlisted Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer and Rep. Yvette Clarke to mediate for Martin.

Martin's lawyer, Cheryl David, said federal officials have clamped down, removing thousands of noncitizens for minor deportable infractions.

"There's more focus on enforcement in the past two years than I've ever seen before," David said. "Jumping a turnstile twice will get you deported."

Martin, who was hired as deputy chief of staff when James was elected in 2003, was arrested in a Brooklyn drug raid in 1985 and sentenced to five years' probation, sources said.

He has lived as a legal immigrant in Brooklyn since moving here in 1977, but never became a citizen, according to his fiancée, Semone Hector.

When the Flatbush resident flew to Barbados in March 2001 for his sister's wedding, it triggered a probe that lead to his arrest, she said.

"The bottom line is if Ray gets deported, God forbid, there's no one in Jamaica for him," said Hector, who said the pair was to wed in December.

"Once he gets off the plane, where does he go? He has no one."

Homeland Security spokesman Michael Gilhooly said travel documents were being prepared for Martin's removal order.

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