Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Has ICE Really Changed Its Policy?

Today, I am going to see if ICE will put its money where the President's mouth is. The President announced that ICE would focus its priorities on removing aliens with criminal records who are a danger to the public safety. This Wall Street Journal article discusses how the change in priority was due in part to the number of people being removed based solely on a minor traffic offense.

The White House posted the announcement on its official blog. The blog refers to ICE's exercise of prosecutorial discretion. A memorandum on the exercise of that discretion can be found with this link.

I have a client with a family in the United States, who was arrested for a traffic offense. He has no other criminal convictions. To date, ICE has refused his release on bond. I am renewing my request for his release today, and intend to renew it again when we have his Immigration Court date. We will see if the President is serious or just talk.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Obama Administration announced that it would allow more undocumented aliens stay in the country, and focus its deportation efforts on those with more serious criminal convictions. The Washington Post details the announcement in this article.

If this is true, it will be a major policy shift. Last year, after a tragic traffic accident in Northern Virginia involving an alien who was in removal proceedings but who had a temporary work permit, ICE adopted a harsh policy toward alien detained after traffic offenses. Under US immigration law, for example, a first time DUI is generally not a deportable offense. However, ICE was detaining people arrested for DUI (even before the arrest resulted in a conviction) and refusing to set a bond for release.

Later in the year, ICE was detaining people who were arrested for offenses as minor as driving without a license, and refusing to set bond for release. This was happening, even when the person had no criminal record, and when the person had a US citizen newborn baby whom he was supporting.

If this change in policy is true, it may perhaps open more doors of relief to aliens pulled over for minor traffic offenses.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Immigration Authorities Raided the University of Northern Virginia

Foreign students enrolled in the University of Northern Virginia should read this Washington Post article. Immigration authorities raided the school, taking computers. The school is unaccredited, which may raise the question with immigration authorities of whether the enrollments are legitimate.