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Deportation and removal proceedings: policy change coming?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2012 | Criminal Defense

There may be upcoming changes to a federal policy about deportation and removal proceedings. The current one allows any undocumented immigrant who has been picked up by law enforcement to be deported, regardless of whether they have actually committed a crime. Changing the federal guidelines about deportation and removal proceedings has the potential to give San Diego immigrants something to look forward to because it may allow those picked up for minor offenses like traffic infractions to avoid immigration issues.

Those potentially affected by the existing policy say they do not want to call police when something occurs because of the harshness of the immigration policy. Advocates for immigration rights believe the current policy is wrong and constitutional rights are being violated. Right now, Secure Communities allows ICE agents to hold an undocumented immigrant that has been arrested and begin the process of deportation right away.

Secure Communities is coming under fire from the Homeland Security Advisory Council Task Force for possible racial profiling. They are seeking to change the current policy that allows for undocumented immigrants who have been charged but not convicted of minor traffic violations to be detained for deportation. The police captain in Escondido stated that, even though some people believe immigrants are being targeted unfairly, their officers do not arrest or detain people without having a reasonable cause. He believes the concern is not about illegal immigrants but about who is committing crimes.

Advocates for changing the federal law plan to take their fight to the state capitol and request changes to the policy. If federal policy is changed, this could benefit undocumented San Diego immigrants. Deportation and removal proceedings for detained immigrants would not begin immediately and immigrants could avoid being detained at all if they have no law violations. This policy could help keep immigrants remain in the country longer as they seek to obtain either residency or citizenship.

Source: FOX 5 San Diego, “Feds considers changing deportation policy,” Perette Godwin, May 1, 2012