62 Fla. L. Rev. 559 (2010) | | | |

CASE COMMENT :: As a boy, De la Rosa had come to the United States from the Dominican Republic in search of a better life. Over the next twenty years, he built that life. Now, as a man, he asked for only one thing-the opportunity to stay.

De la Rosa’s troubles began in 1995 when, as a twenty-two-year-old, he pled nolo contendere to charges of committing a lewd act upon a child under the age of sixteen-an aggravated felony. Besides the usual criminal consequences, his conviction had a critical effect: it rendered De la Rosa a removable alien, subject to deportation at any time. For over a decade, the government never exercised this option. In 2007, however, De la Rosa’s free pass came to an end. As part of a concerted crack down on deportable aliens, immigration officials, citing De la Rosa’s conviction, ordered De la Rosa to show cause as to why he should not be immediately deported. Appearing before an immigration judge, De la Rosa sought the only relief available to him-a “§ 212(c) waiver” of deportation.