The federal government understands it lacks the resources to deport every undocumented immigrant in the country, so it’s targeting enforcement to immigrants who fall into certain categories. One such category includes those accused of committing crimes. As part of these efforts, law enforcement arrested a total of 331 people in six states last month, 49 of them in Kentucky, with the goal of deporting undocumented immigrants caught up in the sweep.
The operation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICS) and other law enforcement agencies resulted in 12 arrests in Lexington, 16 in Louisville and 12 more arrests elsewhere in Kentucky, including in Bowling Green, Covington and Versailles. They came about, according to the Lexington Herald Leader, after a month-long effort focused on accused criminals and immigration law violators. Of the 49 people arrested in our state, 33 had been convicted of crimes within the country. Two examples are:
- A 30-year-old Mexican national arrested in Lexington who had convictions for DUI, shoplifting, fourth-degree sexual assault, battery and domestic violence.
- A 43-year-old Mexican national who had been convicted of domestic violence, assault, aggravated assault and terroristic threatening was arrested and deported.
A 2014 memorandum by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) states:
- Enforcement and removal policies prioritize dealing with those who may threaten national security, public safety and border security.
- Due to limited resources DHS is unable to respond to all immigration violations or remove everyone who is in the country illegally.
- Due to those limits, DHS uses discretion in the enforcement of the law to ensure that the use of its resources is devoted to cases deemed a priority.
The priorities for DHS’s civil immigration enforcement are:
- Threats to national and border security as well as public safety, including:
- Those engaged, or suspected of engaging, in terrorism or espionage or who pose a danger to national security
- Aliens apprehended at the border or ports of entry while trying to illegally enter the country
- Those convicted of a criminal offense involving a street gang
- Aliens convicted of a felony (other than instances where an element of the crime is their immigration status) or aggravated felony.
- Aliens convicted of misdemeanors and those who recently violated immigration law:
- Those convicted of three or more misdemeanors (other than minor traffic offenses)
- Aliens convicted of a “significant misdemeanor”
- Aliens apprehended anywhere in the country after illegally entering it, or re-entering it, and who can’t establish that they have been physically present in the country continuously since January 1, 2014
- Aliens who have significantly abused the visa or visa waiver programs.
- Other immigration violators
- Those issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014
- Those in this category should be removed unless they qualify for asylum or another form of relief or the alien is not a threat to the integrity of the immigration system or there are reasons the person should not be an enforcement priority.
If you are arrested or have a criminal record and you are an undocumented immigrant, you are in much greater danger of possible deportation. We help clients with both criminal defense and immigration law matters. Call CF Abogados today at (859) 971-0060 or fill out the online contact form if you have any questions about your rights and the best ways to protect them.
Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton
Mr. Fullerton’s practice is focused on immigration law. He speaks Spanish, and represents clients in cases before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He began his career practicing criminal defense, and understands how matters in criminal courts can affect a client’s immigration status. [Attorney Bio]