ICE Arrests Immigrants Applying for Legal Residency

ICE Arrests Immigrants Applying for Legal Residency

In order to highlight Trump’s crackdown on immigrants present in the United States with no legal status, the Washington Post tells the story of several immigrants who recently went to a U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in order to seek legal status. At least two of the individuals are married to U.S. citizens and were seeking to go through the I-130 visa petition process, which would allow them legalize their presence in the U.S. through their spouses. None of the individuals had criminal records, aside from a few traffic violations. All had been in the U.S. for a lengthy period of time, living, working, and raising a family. As USCIS pointed out, however, all of these individuals had a valid deportation order, some of which were 15 or 16 years old. Therefore, when each individual appeared at the USCIS office, he or she was detained pending removal. These arrests are not unprecedented, but do illustrate the very real differences between the Obama and Trump administrations. Under the Obama administration, these individuals were not a priority for deportation. Rather, the Obama administration targeted those individuals who had serious and violent criminal histories, followed by those with less serious criminal histories or misdemeanor convictions other than traffic offenses. The Obama administration also focused on those individuals with deportation orders dated after January 1, 2014. The reality is that the Obama administration simply was not concerned with removing immigrants who had no criminal records, who had long histories of living in the U.S., and who had U.S. spouses and/or children. Under this priority scheme, it is highly unlikely that the individuals described above ever would have been detained, let alone deported. The Trump administration has publicly proclaimed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers should not exercise prosecutorial discretion that favors one classification or group of immigrants over another. This means that the Obama-era priorities in terms of deportation essentially no longer exist. For instance, an individual with a seriously violent criminal background could be treated as equally as an individual who has lived in the U.S. for 20 years and never had committed a crime because neither individual has any sort of legal status. Rather, ICE is focusing on anyone with a valid deportation order, no matter how old that order might be and regardless of the validity of the circumstances surrounding an immigrant’s particular situation. If ICE has detained a loved one, contacting an experienced California immigration attorney as quickly as possible is essential to gaining his or her release from detention and fighting back against deportation. Remedying an immigration problem from the outset is often easier than waiting and attempting to fix the situation later. Call Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., at (510) 756-4468 today, and see what we can do to assist you through this situation.
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