NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. immigration officials will not seek to deport the former Rutgers University student who was convicted in March of bias crimes for using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate’s encounter with another man, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said on Monday.
The decision likely means that Dharun Ravi, 20, will be allowed to continue living in the United States after he is released from jail, which was expected to occur on Tuesday.
Ravi is an Indian citizen who has lived most of his life in the United States.
He was convicted of bias crimes for using a computer-mounted webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, and an older man he met online in their dorm room. Days after learning that Ravi had snooped on him and then used social media to urge others to watch too, Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010.
The possibility of deportation loomed large after Ravi, who faced up to 10 years in prison for the hate crimes, was sentenced to 30 days in prison by Judge Glenn Berman. Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan has appealed the sentence.
The older man, identified only as M.B., said he would write a letter recommending against deportation and the judge said he would do the same.
However on Monday, the eve of Ravi’s expected release from jail, immigration officials said the agency would not seek deportation.
“Based on a review of Mr. Ravi’s criminal record, ICE is not initiating removal proceedings at this time,” ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein told Reuters in an emailed statement.
The prosecutor said he would “respectfully defer” to the ICE decision against deportation.
Ravi has served 20 days of a 30-day sentence imposed by Judge Glenn Berman, and received a 10-day credit for good behavior. He was to be released on Tuesday from the Middlesex County Jail on Tuesday, according to the warden’s office.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen; writing by Dan Burns; editing by Christopher Wilson