How Michigan’s Recreational Marijuana Laws Could Affect Refugee Foster Kids (Pt 2)

July 19, 2019 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Marijuana plant
Under federal law, marijuana is still illegal in every way for any reason. So for refugee kids dealing with immigration, it could be an issue!

Welcome back and thanks for joining us again. In the previous article we talked a little about the issue of marijuana usage, which is legal in Michigan for people over 21, and illegal at a federal level for anyone, at any age. And that’s where the issue gets complex. As we mentioned before, because refugee fostering is overseen by the federal government (unlike domestic fostering which is handled at a state level) there are a lot more issues in play. Specifically, the issue of immigration (that means you’re dealing directly with the feds), which means weed use could be a potentially MUCH bigger problem!

Immigration attorneys say refugee youth be very careful!

Lying to a law enforcement officer is against the law, and so an attorney would never recommend you do that! If you can’t lie to an immigration officer about using weed, what can you do? Best advice: don’t touch it! That means don’t smoke it, sell it, buy it, grow it, or be involved with it in any way. Because when the time comes for your refugee foster child to sit in front of that immigration official, and they ask about marijuana (and they will!), your foster son or daughter can honestly say they didn’t violate federal law. 

The impact on you, even if you’re innocent, can be catastrophic!

Think about it – if a refugee foster youth living in your home admits to having weed, you’ll immediately be in the spotlight. Your foster license will be compromised, not to mention the possible child endangerment charges you’ll be up against if the feds think you allowed your kid access to pot! So if your family is in any way working through the immigration process for a refugee foster child in your care, make sure your entire household is in compliance with federal law on the issue of drugs.

Tips for refugee foster youth who are still working towards getting resident alien status (greencard) and/or U.S. citizenship:

  • You can still be deported for having or using marijuana if you’re a non-citizen.
  • Don’t take a job, or work in any capacity, in the marijuana industry.
  • If you have a medical condition, and your doctor recommends the use of medical marijuana, make sure you speak to an attorney who understands the immigration consequences before making ANY decisions about using medical marijuana.
  • Never leave your house (or anyone else’s home) carrying marijuana, medibles, CBD oils, a medical marijuana card, paraphernalia (like a pipe), or accessories like marijuana-themed T-shirts or stickers. 
  • Don’t have photos, videos, or texts about marijuana, or you using marijuana on your phone, social media, or anywhere else.
  • Never discuss marijuana use or possession with any immigration or border official, unless you’ve received expert legal advice first. If an immigration official asks about marijuana, say you don’t want to talk anymore, and you want to speak to a lawyer. You have the right to remain silent. (Although refusing to answer questions might still result in you being refused admission into the United States.)

If you end up in trouble with the feds, get the right help!

The laws governing foster homes are complex in Michigan, and even more so when the foster youth is a refugee. The crossover between state and federal laws can make for serious conflicts, making it hard for foster parents and the minors they care for to keep up. If you have questions about immigration law we recommend you contact a trusted immigration attorney in Michigan. If you’ve been accused by the feds of allowing your foster child to access illegal drugs, you’re going to need our help. Call 866 766 5245 today and discuss your case with our experienced defense attorneys. Whether it’s child abuse charges or criminal charges, we can help.