Musings on Immigration

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I paid all my fines and complied with my probation for my DUI—why is ICE detaining me?

Because as of November 20, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has new enforcement priorities (http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/14_1120_memo_prosecutorial_discretion.pdf). If you are a non citizen in the U.S., and you fit one of the descriptions below, you may be placed in a detention center:

You have been convicted of a felony;
You have been recently apprehended at the U.S. border;
You have been convicted of an aggravated felony as defined in Section 101(a)(43) of
         the Immigration and Naturalization Act;
You have been convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” (for example, an offense for DUI,
         domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, firearms, and drug distribution/trafficking);
You entered the U.S. with no visa after January 1, 2014;
You have a final order of removal (meaning, there is no appeal pending) that was issued to
        you after January 1, 2014.

One of the most common reasons people get detained is because they are recent entrants to the U.S. and they have a DUI conviction on their record. With respect to the DUI, it does not matter how old it is, whether you duly complied with al fines and probation ordered from you, or whether you have already been bonded out in the past; it only matters that you have a DUI on your record.

DHS argues that people convicted of a DUI are a threat to the community and, although it is unclear how someone whose conviction may be 10, 15 years old is still a threat to the community, DHS is not asking questions. Therefore, we strongly recommend that if you have any of the above listed convictions on your record, you consult with a criminal attorney and an immigration attorney who can advise you on how to avoid being detained.

Do not wait until DHS knocks on your door, or you are issued a notice to “report” with ICE. Act now before it is too late and you find yourself desperately trying to clean your record while you wait in detention indefinitely.

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