As the focus on ‘border security’ has increased in the platforms of presidential candidates for the 2016 election, the federal government has also ramped up its efforts to deport immigrants who have committed crimes or pose a threat to public safety. This September, immigration authorities in Southern California arrested more than 240 people with criminal records during a four-day sting. Los Angeles County accounted for the largest number of arrests with 99, followed by Orange County at 55, San Bernardino County with 43, Riverside County with 24, Santa Barbara County with 20, and San Luis Obispo County with three. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities said over half of those arrested had felony convictions or multiple misdemeanor convictions. Eight out of 10 are from Mexico. Those who are not criminally prosecuted will be placed in deportation proceedings. The sting comes as the federal government butts heads with local state governments that have resisted in cooperating on immigration enforcement.
California Immigration Enforcement
California does not require state or local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status during traffic stops or similar circumstances. Additionally, California allows for in-state tuition for illegal aliens in California-funded state universities, driver’s licenses for those here illegally, and state-funded healthcare for children. Additionally, due to a statewide law passed in 2013, local law enforcement officials are prohibited from detaining immigrants for longer than necessary on minor offenses so that they can be turned over to federal officials for possible deportation. This year a bill has been introduced to allow work permits to farmworkers living in the U.S. illegally.
Immigration law is complicated and largely a federal issue. Title 8 of the U.S. Code, entitled “aliens and nationality,” gives immigrants living in the U.S. legally a temporary visa or a green card. It defines “alien” as any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States. See U.S.C. § 1101(a)(3). By federal law, entering the U.S. without approval is still illegal, as is staying in the U.S. after a visa has expired. Under Title 8, you may be deported (even if you entered legally) from the country for:
- Committing marriage fraud;
- Failing to register as a sex offender if you have been convicted of a sex crime ;
- Smuggling other aliens into the country within five years of their own date of U.S. entry;
- Conviction of certain drug crimes;
- Conviction of crimes involving moral turpitude; or
- Conviction of an aggravated felony.
San Diego Immigration Defense Lawyer
Being arrested and charged with a crime is a particularly scary experience for immigrants. Criminal charges affect immigration status in a multitude of ways, and the threat of deportation is always present. It certainly does not help that immigration is a contentious issue with one of the most complex and challenging areas of law. Immigration and criminal defense attorney David Boertje will provide you with a strong defense. Do not hesitate to contact attorney David Boertje today. Consultations are free and confidential.