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Ex-Salvadoran general deported from U.S. for war crimes

Not long ago, we discussed how naturalized U.S. citizens can lose their citizenship and be deported, a process called “denaturalization.” Of course, resident aliens can also face deportation, perhaps due to committing a crime or failing to disclose previous criminal activity in their previous country.

Sometimes, a high-profile deportation makes headlines, as it has for former Carlos Vides, a man found liable in Florida civil court for committing torture while the director of El Salvador’s national guard, and later minister of defense, during the 1970s and ‘80s, when that country was in the midst of a brutal civil war. The Salvadoran government tortured and killed tens of thousands of civilians in those years, as the Miami New Times reports.

In 1989, Vides fled El Salvador and arrived in Florida, where he lived for decades -- until April 8, when he was deported back to his native country. The deportation ended years of efforts by advocates for victims of torture to remove Vides from the United States.

A 2002 lawsuit ended in a verdict against him, which led to deportation proceedings. He was ordered to leave in 2012. Vides appealed, but the immigration appeals board upheld the decision.

This, of course, is a highly unusual example of a reason for deportation. Most people face the possibility of being kicked out of the U.S. for far less extreme reasons. Still, the result is the same: losing the right to live, work and raise your family in the U.S.

The best chance to avoid this result is to have an experienced immigration attorney on your side.

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