High court to consider state role in prosecuting immigrants

Family Law

Donaldo Morales caught a break when federal prosecutors declined to charge him after he was arrested for using a fake Social Security card so he could work at a Kansas restaurant. But the break was short-lived. Kansas authorities stepped in and obtained a state conviction that could lead to Morales’s deportation.

A state appellate court overturned the conviction, but Kansas appealed. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether states can prosecute immigrants like Morales who use other people’s Social Security numbers to get a job.

Morales, who plans to attend the arguments with his wife and a son, said he has been having nightmares about being deported. His greatest fear is leaving behind his wife and children if the Supreme Court reinstates his state convictions ? felonies that could trigger deportation proceedings.

“What I did was to earn money honestly in a job to support my family,” the 51-year-old Guatemalan immigrant told The Associated Press in Spanish.

The case before the nation’s highest court arises from three prosecutions in Johnson County, a largely suburban area outside Kansas City, Missouri, where the district attorney has aggressively pursued immigrants under the Kansas identity theft and false-information statutes.

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