Steven A. Goldstein
On June 29, 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that they have joined with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to identify and remove undocumented immigrants with a criminal conviction state-wide. The initiative is called, “Secure Communities”. Essentially, when a person is arrested by any agency in the State of Florida, their fingerprints will be compared with the fingerprints on file with ICE to identify immigrants with a potential criminal history.
When an immigrant files for benefits at a USCIS service center or local USCIS office, they are many times asked to report for fingerprinting, also known as biometrics. This is required for almost every immigration benefit sought. Before, when a person was arrested, their fingerprints were just compared with the FBI, Department of Justice database. Now, the fingerprints will also be checked with ICE to capture any person who applied for immigration benefits who has been arrested.
This will result in an immigration hold being placed on the person arrested and they will not be permitted to bond out of custody. It is extremely important to understand that this will affect both undocumented and legal immigrants. People who are here legally but are not U.S. citizens are subject to deportation if arrested and/or convicted of certain crimes.
It is now more important than ever to seek the advice of an immigration attorney if you or someone you know is arrested and they are NOT a U.S. citizen. Call us now for a free, in-office consultation.