For five years, I had worked at a job in the United States that my J class visa did not permit me to hold. With the help of a lawyer, I had filed numerous appeals and obtained many temporary stays, continuing to work but unable to travel outside the U.S., because without papers I would not be allowed back in. My appeals were now exhausted, except for this one man's final decision. The procedure was for me to declare that yes, I was deportable, and to throw myself on the mercy of the court. I knew of several other people in the same position who had been deported — to Sierra Leone, to Mexico, to Colombia. After my declaration, I waited for what seemed a long time. Finally, he announced that he would allow me to have resident alien status — a green card. So I was admitted legally into the U.S., and a few years later became a naturalized citizen.