'My world just stopped': Corkman facing US deportation to cite John Lennon case in defence

'My world just stopped': Corkman facing US deportation to cite John Lennon case in defence

A Corkman who was arrested last month in a raid by US Immigration and Enforcement (ICE) has said he is "embarrassed for the Government" that a minor drug charge will lead to his deportation from the US.

Keith Byrne, 37, from Fermoy in Co. Cork told RTÉ Radio 1's Drivetime that he has post-traumatic stress and is coming around slowly.

The Cork native has been living in the US since 2007, after overstaying his visa.

The married father of three was arrested last month in Pennsylvania.

Recalling the day that he was arrested, he knew he was being followed but thought it was the police saying: "My world just stopped... they told me my time was up".

"This is my home, I love this country... I've been working very hard to do the right thing."

Two weeks ago a judge ordered his temporary release from prison to allow an appeal be heard in his application for citizenship.

The order stipulates that he faces a return to jail again in two weeks' time. He is not yet back in work, but plans to towards the end of the month and keep his business going.

Of his marijuana charges, Keith explained: "They were fines... one of them was a joint...why should that ruin my future? It was a small fine."

"I'm embarrassed for the Government of Ireland for the Government of the United States for something like that to ruin my life, my wife's life... it's just horrendous."

He said that on the form applying for his green card he was asked had he ever been fined or arrested.

He said: "We told the truth from day one."

He told Drivetime that the thoughts of having to leave the US have not been his focus.

Joe Hohenstein from his legal team also spoke to Mary Wilson, revealing comparisons to John Lennon.

Mr Hohenstein said: "The most important thing for me, Keith wanted to make sure he was telling the truth.. what we have right now is a legal disagreement about whether or not he is allowed to become a lawful permanent resident.

"What we discovered as we were doing the case was that there is an extremely famous person, John Lennon, who had exactly the same charges and was found not to be inadmissible.

"The British version of marijuana possession is identical to the Irish version and that's something that even under current US immigration law is not something that should make somebody what we call inadmissible.

"That's one of the main things that we're going to try and bring home when we file these papers in court.

"This is a family that deserves to stay together."

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