Immigration “Raids” Are Focused on Those Who Had Their Day In Court
In response to the many reports released on social media and in the news, this writer wishes to clarify what is really going on. Reports of renewed “immigration raids” are popping up and creating panic in the immigrant community. These reports all fail to point out the most obvious point-Immigration Customs Enforcement, known as “ICE” has not changed any policies regarding deportation of people who are in the United States illegally. For well over a year, ICE has been consistently seeking removal of people who fall within their priorities for deportation. Since ICE simply cannot deport millions of people en masse, the current focus is to expend resources on the removal of criminals (including people with DUI convictions), gang members and terrorists as well as recent arrivals (people who cross the border illegally since January 1, 2014).
The current announcements of “raids” reflects that ICE is seeking to enforce the law by removing people who had their day in court, and either lost their case (and did not appeal) or simply did not show up to their deportation hearing. The apparent focus is to removal women and children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who either exercised their rights to apply for relief from removal or lost their cases. These cases are referred to as border “surge” cases and are high on the list for immigration law enforcement.
Many articles and announcements fail to point out that the class of people being deported fall within a fairly narrow class. These articles are not written by experienced immigration attorneys and are causing unnecessary fear and rumors in the community.
Sadly, many people who recently arrived in the United States were fleeing extreme violence and qualified for asylum or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The sad part is that a very high percentage of these cases are won where experienced immigration lawyers are involved but the majority of those in the removal process never hire lawyers. Thus, the current immigration “raids” are focused on people who had their day in court but lost because they did not have adequate legal representation.