Two weeks ago,
we posted a blog discussing the future of Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman Slava Voynov
after he was moved to an ICE detention center. At the time, the central
question was whether Voynov would fight the deportation decision, or return
to his native Russia voluntarily. Yesterday our question was answered,
as Voynov has started the process of returning to Russia with his family.
Can Voynov Ever Return to the United States?
With the recent spotlight on domestic violence in professional sports,
it’s quite likely that Voynov’s NHL career is over. His former
team in Russia, however, has publicly stated that they will welcome him
if he decides to return.
Provided Voynov’s request for voluntary departure is granted, he
will have the option to reapply for a visa as soon as he returns to Russia.
If he had fought deportation and been unsuccessful, he would not have
been able to reapply for more than five years. Since the plea bargain
lowered the charges to a misdemeanor, rather than an aggravated felony,
Voynov would not have been subject to a permanent ban.
As the situation currently stands, however, Voynov’s ability to return
to the U.S. is more possible in theory than it is in practice. Due to
the violent nature of his crime, and the fact that his case was particularly
high-profile, it is unlikely that he will actually be granted a visa –
at least not for a while.
The Kings Maintain His Contract Rights
As an interesting aside, the Kings have opted not to void Voynov’s
contract, calling the move “unnecessary.” This means that
if he is ever able to play in the United States again, he will owe four
years to the Kings. Recent rumors suggest that Kings management have no
plans to ever bring Voynov back, and may instead simply be preventing
him from playing for another NHL team.
Facing Immigration Challenges? Call (949) 478-4963.
At the Law Office of Ashkan Yekrangi, P.C., our skilled Orange County immigration
lawyer has a personal understanding of the unique legal challenges which
face immigrants. Whether you’re facing deportation, or are just
trying to plan a visit to the United States, you can count on our firm
to provide the experienced guidance you need.
Call our firm today for your
free case evaluation.