How a Court Date is No More Than a Trap for Immigrants

How a Court Date is No More Than a Trap for Immigrants

A recent New Yorker article tells the story of Sergio Perez, who initially entered the U.S. without authorization at the age of 19. Perez had moved back and forth to Mexico several times, and also had been deported several times, but reentered the country in order to stay with his U.S. citizen wife and three children, but had never been convicted of another crime, except a ticket for driving on a suspended license. Out of concern for his children, who were living with his estranged wife and her boyfriend, whom his wife had accused of domestic violence in the past, he sought full custody of the children in family court. When he appeared in court, however, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents immediately detained him in a jail in Dearborn, MI, and soon transferred him to a Louisiana detention center. Despite efforts by attorneys from the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Perez was deported to Mexico. This example illustrates one of the major problems with the enforcement of federal immigration laws within the interior of the U.S. Unlike criminal defendants, immigrant detainees do not enjoy the full range of constitutional rights given to all criminal defendants, regardless of their immigration status. Rather, immigration proceedings are civil in nature, which means that detainees have no right to an attorney in their deportation proceedings, warranted used by ICE to arrest immigrants are not issued by a judge, but merely by an ICE office supervisor, and 4 th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure often don’t apply, either. Now that the Trump administration is apparently advocating the detention of immigrants in courthouses nationwide, these troubling issues have only worsened. As a result, immigrants who are attempting to access necessary legal services in family court, or seeking protection from domestic violence, often find themselves caught up in immigration enforcement efforts. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., has the experience that you need when you are facing deportation charges. We know how to gather the facts that are relevant to your case, assess your options, and determine whether you have any legal defenses that may enable you to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S. Contact the Oakland immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we potentially can help you and your family through this difficult situation.
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