Sean Sheikhan Facing Deportation to Iran

by Lou on September 25, 2007

Poker player Shahram “Sean” Sheikhan, a regular on High Stakes Poker, may be deported to Iran because of a 1995 conviction for misdemeanor sexual battery charges involving a 17-year-old girl. Sheikhan was in his early 20s at the time and served nine months for his offense. Sheikhan, now 38, came to the United States when he was nine years old. He is married to an American-born woman and the couple has a young child.

Pushing this case are the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), which seeks out foreign nationals convicted of sexual crimes against children and works to get them deported.

According to Sheikhan’s lawyer, David Chesnoff, “It’s not allegations involving a child in the actual meaning of the word; it’s a legal definition,” adding, “There’s a lot of work to be done on his behalf that’s going to be done. He’s a good husband and a good father, and a lot of people have problems when they’re young that shouldn’t follow them for the rest of their lives.”
Sheikhan was arrested August 30 and held for five days before Chesnoff could secure his release on a $10,000 bond. ICE wanted to hold Sheikhan until his deportation hearing and tried to prevent his release, but the judge OK’d bail.

Despite the fact that Sheikhan paid for his crime, ICE wants him out of the United States. An immigration hearing is slated for October 23 in Las Vegas. The judge can dismiss the case at that time or set a date for a hearing.

I’m no friend of Sean Sheikhan, but I do feel that ICE’s efforts to deport him amounts to piling on. After all, he served time for his offense. If deportation was deemed to be the thing to do, it should have been part of his original sentence. Moreover, I don’t see Sheikhan as a threat to repeat this kind of behavior. He’s married, a family man, and has not repeated this kind of behavior in the nearly 20 years since his arrest and conviction.

Sending him back to Iran is absurd. He came over here when he was nine. It’s not like he has any ties to Iran. He may not even speak the language.

This kind of case smacks of the kind of bureaucratic overkill that government officials are prone to employ when common sense and good judgment would better suffice. Sheikhan broke the law and paid for his transgressions years ago. It’s old news that’s over and done with. Give it a rest.

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