Saturday, July 9, 2011
Jets draft choice could get deported
By Tim Graham
ESPNNewYork.com reporter Rich Cimini wrote an intriguing piece about the future of New York Jets third-round pick Kenrick Ellis.
The defensive lineman from Hampton faces up to 20 years in prison on a felony charge of malicious wounding. The on-campus incident occurred in April.
The story, unfortunately, doesn't seem too exceptional. The Jets knew about the charge when they drafted him, investigated the circumstances and were sufficiently satisfied.
But there's one particular issue that makes Ellis' case noteworthy.
He's not a U.S. citizen. Although he moved to the U.S. when he was 11, graduated from high school in South Florida and is considered a "permanent resident," he was born in Jamaica. A felony conviction makes him deportable.
"There's a reason [for the Jets] to be worried ... because if it's an aggravated felony, there's nothing that can be done," immigration attorney Bill Kovatch told Cimini. Kovatch doesn't represent Ellis. "He gets deported, and there's no waiver."
Ellis is a significant part of the Jets' draft class. Because they didn't own a second-round pick, Ellis was the second player they took.