Steven A. Goldstein
The Obama administration is clearly defining its goals with respect to legal and undocumented aliens in the United States. It is a two prong plan that is both enforcement-minded and compassionate at the same time. Recently, as has been reported nationally and on our firm’s news outlets, the administration has decided to deal with the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. There is a new directive from the very top the Department of Homeland Security that instructs various divisions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees to use prosecutorial discretion when making the decision of whether to place people in deportation proceedings. Alternatively, if the person is already in deportation proceedings, their cases may be closed if they do not have criminal records and have compelling reasons to stay in the United States. We are already seeing the affect of this very recent policy and we expect as the months go on, to see much more commonsense solutions for immigrants that are a value to both their families and our communities.
Conversely, the Obama administration also instituted a program called Secure Communities. “It is the strategy of this program to identify and remove criminal aliens”, said Jim Martin, Deputy Field Director for the Boston office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Obama administration has a goal of deporting 400,000 immigrants this year. When police arrest someone, their fingerprints are checked against a database from the Department of Homeland Security to see if the person has had interaction in the past with immigration officials. The idea is to look for the worst offenders first, but officials caution that people accused of lessor crimes can be deported.
What does this mean to you? Simply, that if you are an undocumented immigrant and you have never been convicted of a crime, your odds of attaining status in the United States have increased dramatically. On the other hand, if you are undocumented OR legal here in the United States and you have been convicted of a crime, ICE may come looking for you. It is important that you consult with a deportation defense attorney. Our Miami deportation lawyers have the experience it takes to fight for your rights in the new era of immigration law. Call us for a free, in-office consultation.