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 Yekrangi & Associates, 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.