Articles Posted in Criminal Immigration

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Immigration Enforcement in the Chicago area in 2017 has been expanding.  Workplace raids by ICE agents are more frequent, arrests and detentions have increased, and undocumented immigrants must now fear what were formerly routine procedures such as “check-ins” with ICE because of the uncertainty that they will be forced into detention.  Immigration Bonds seem to be harder to come by – as ICE is declining to set bond on many of its detainees, leaving the question of bond up to an immigration judge.  The wait to see an immigration judge for a bond hearing can be several weeks spent in ice custody.  The immigration court docket in Chicago has doubled since 2010, with nearly 25,000 pending cases now backlogged.  Individual hearing dates are being scheduled out as far as 2021 for some cases.

The Trump Justice Department is focusing on enforcements policies to streamline the removal and deportation of undocumented immigrants.  Although their main priority is supposed to be those arrested or convicted of crimes, many other noncriminal immigrants are being swept up in their net. Make sure you know your rights if your are detained by ICE or ICE shows up at your home or workplace.  Have a family member contact an Immigration Attorney experienced in Removal Defense and Immigration Bond Hearings if you are processed by ICE for detention.  Being detained by ICE and placed in Removal or Deportation proceedings is particularly frightening and stressful.  But there are forms of relief that you may qualify for, that could eventually lead to permanent residence status, if you meet certain eligibility requirements.

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In 2017, the number of undocumented immigrants being taken to Illinois ICE Detention centers has more than doubled at some locations.  In past years, immigrants who were stopped for traffic violations were seen as low priority enforcements and were not detained by Immigrant Enforcement agents (ICE) unless there was some other, more serious or outstanding criminal arrests, charges or convictions.  Now, everyone who is undocumented is fair game for immigration enforcement.  Immigrants stopped for speeding, involved in minor traffic accidents, and even those showing up in civil court need to be concerned about being arrested by ICE and taken to detention.  Bonding out of ICE detention has become more difficult, and having to  appear before an Immigration Judge to request bond is far more likely than it used to be.

If you or a relative are detained or arrested by Immigration Enforcement agents, contact a qualified immigration attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you are eligible for a bond hearing.  The time between when an immigrant enters ICE detention, is processed and his case is registered with the Immigration Court can be longer than a month.  An attorney can help you file a motion to request a bond hearing -even before your case has been processed with the Immigration Court and you receive your first hearing notice.  Not everyone is entitled to bond out of immigration detention.  Convictions for certain crimes or prior removal orders can trigger mandatory detention, in which case you must remain in custody until your immigration case is decided.

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If you are undocumented and approached by Law Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE or other Immigration Officials – you do have certain rights.  If encountered at home, you do not have to open the door unless the officials have a search warrant.  You have the right to remain silent, and the right to speak to a lawyer if you are detained or taken into custody.  If you are approached in a Public area by immigration officers, you have the right to remain silent, you may refuse a search, and you have the right to speak to a lawyer if detained or taken into custody.  You can refuse to sign any and all paperwork presented to you until you have spoken to a lawyer.  Print out the attached Know Your Rights pages and keep them for your reference.  Cut out the Know Your Rights Card and carry it with you.  You may give it to immigration officers if you do not wish to speak to them.

Know your Rights – Home

Know Your Rights Card

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On April 11, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum to all federal prosecutors titled “Renewed Commitment to Criminal Immigration Enforcement,” in which he directs federal prosecutors to enforce the criminal laws against unlawful entry into the United States.  In the past, offenses such as unlawful entry, unlawful re-entry, document fraud or identity theft had noncriminal resolutions such as deportation or voluntary departure. The policies recently outlined by Sessions now encourage criminal prosecution of non-violent immigration violations as follows:

  1.  Offenses related to unlawful transportation of harboring of undocumented aliens, with priority on those smuggling three or more individuals.
  2. Any case where the defendant has two or more prior misdemeanor improper entry convictions, or one or more improper entry convictions with aggravating circumstances, such as criminal history, gang membership or affiliation or multiple prior voluntary returns, prior removal or deportation orders, will be referred for criminal prosecution.
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