Bhavesh “Bobby” Bhatt, 43, an Indian American business owner from Saugerties, New York may be facing deportation, separating him from his wife Jeanne Edwards, 28, infant son.
According to a Hudson Valley One report, Bhatt, who owns the Glasco Deli and a home with Edwards, was taken into custody on Jan. 31 when he showed up at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in New York for a routine interview.
Currently, Bhatt is being held in a detention center in New Jersey while his wife has taken time off from her job to run the business.
Bhatt illegally crossed the Mexican border in 2001 and was caught for the act three years later when he was given a removal order however, was allowed to stay in the country because of the “prosecutorial discretion” policy allowing immigration authorities to have wide latitude for deportation, according to a Hudson Valley One report.
Bhatt was also allowed to stay because he was steadily employed and had no criminal record.
Bhatt met Edwards through mutual friends in 2012 and got married in April 2016, 13 months later they filed an “I-130” form to verify their marriage so Bhatt could finally obtain a legal status.
Bhatt’s Attorney, Marilyn Labrada-Dume told Hudson Valley One that there should be no problem in approving the application as Bhatt and Edwards’ “union is legitimate for the purposes of determining legal status” and this would allow Bhatt to have the removal order lifted so he can apply for a permanent residency.
But the couple didn’t hear back from immigration officials and instead Bhatt was taken into custody when he went for a routine interview with his son’s birth certificate on Jan. 31.
Labrada-Dume told Hudson Valley One that Bhatt’s arrest is due to the harsh immigration policies that President Donald Trump’s administration has laid out.
The new rules now give immigration authorities a little discretion when it comes to the enforcement of existing removal orders and it does not matter if the immigrant has any previous criminal activity.
“Under the previous administration they were deporting people left and right, but usually because of a criminal conviction. They weren’t dividing families like this,” Labrada-Dume told Hudson Valley One.
Another problem that Bhatt now faces is that if he does get deported back to India, he will have to serve jail time there as Indian authorities do not recognize him as a citizen because he does not have a valid Indian passport.
“Basically, he could end up going from a jail in New Jersey to a jail in Mumbai,” Edwards told Hudson Valley One, adding that now they are just waiting for the approval of their marriage document which will allow Bhatt to stay in the country.