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.

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