I’m not an alarmist, but I am a realist. The enforcement priorities in one of President Trump’s executive orders onnimmigration, as presently drafted, are monumentally terrible. It calls for the removal of any undocumented immigrant who is merely charged with a crime, but not yet convicted. It also calls for the removal of any undocumented immigrant who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.” This means that ICE has the discretion to determine criminal conduct occurred even if the person hasn’t been charged with a crime. What does that even look like?
And what’s to stop ICE from cross-checking arraignment calendars in local courts, hanging out outside of the courtroom and rounding people up after their initial court date?
To be clear: I’m not even talking people charged with murder or other heavy felonies and who are recent arrivals into the country. This equally applies to people who have lived here their entire lives and are charged with shoplifting or driving on a suspended driver’s license who will suddenly find themselves languishing in ICE detention and fighting removal.
What’s important to note here is that this is not a change in law, this is merely a change in enforcement priorities. Undocumented immigrants were already eligible for removal, so this does not require Congressional action. This is simply directing Homeland Security and ICE to aggressively enforce.
This is troubling for many reasons.
First off, this change of enforcement priorities treat all criminal offenses the same. Whether it is a first-time DUI or a petty theft case from decades ago or a serious felony. Everything is treated the same.
Second, this does not just cover recently arrived immigrants who are undocumented. This applies to all undocumented immigrants. Whether someone arrived here two months ago or twenty years ago. This also applies to undocumented immigrants who came here as minors but are not covered under DACA.
The bottom line here is, undocumented immigrants facing criminal charges and those who have old criminal charges are facing serious immigration consequences. If you or a loved one is in this precarious position, it is imperative that you contact a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your options. For a free and confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 or submit the secure contact form on this page.