When a person comes to the U.S. border seeking things such as asylum, they aren’t always coming alone. Sometimes, they come with family members.
Immigration detention is a fear for many people who have come into the country without proper paperwork. Taking a look at the numbers for federal prosecutions shows that this fear isn't without merit. When the fiscal year ended recently, it was noted that more than half of federal prosecutions were for immigration-based issues.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was created by the Obama administration by executive order, meaning that it could be ended by executive order when the Trump administration moves in on Jan. 20. Considering Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, many young people who are now benefitting from the program are dealing with fear and uncertainty.
Immigration detainees can vary greatly in their situation. For one, they can differ quite a bit in what legal issues are present in their case and what options they have. Immigration lawyers can help individuals here in California who have been brought into immigration detention with addressing their unique legal situation.
California residents are likely familiar with the legal doctrine of prosecutorial discretion. Authorities simply do not have the resources to prosecute all of the cases brought before them to the fullest extent of the law, and those considered less of a threat to society or the United States may sometimes find their cases delayed or dropped altogether. The concept of prosecutorial discretion forms the basis of some immigration policies, but its use in visa, asylum and green card cases was not widely known before John Lennon's brush with the federal government in the 1970s.
A class action lawsuit filed by the Northern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union may result in some change to immigration detention facilities. A former detainee filed the complaint against Immigration and Customs Enforcement after he was denied the ability to make phone calls and receive messages while he was being held in a California jail where ICE has rented facilities.
Lawmakers in a major California city are considering a measure that would place strict limits on when city workers can notify immigration authorities about criminal suspects who are living in the United States illegally. The proposal would allow such notifications only when the suspect concerned has been charged with a violent crime and has been convicted of another violent crime during the past seven years. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors was scheduled to vote on the proposal on May 11, but the vote has been postponed.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin focusing on so-called sanctuary cities in California and throughout the United States that try to prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported. However, there are concerns that ICE's efforts will undermine the local law enforcement in those cities.
California residents may be aware that U.S. authorities have been widely criticized for the conditions at many immigration detention facilities and the treatment of detainees. According to a number of immigrant advocates, detainees have been routinely denied due process and separated from family members, and research conducted by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union has concluded that several detainees have died due to substandard health care.
Californian immigrants and immigrants' rights advocates may be interested to hear that a 27-year-old woman was finally freed from a controversial detention. The woman, a mother of two children, was originally detained at the beginning of the year as part of a series of high-profile immigration raids that were the subject of significant public backlash. Reports said that the 27-year-old, an asylum seeker of El Salvadorean origin, suffered no less than seven seizures during her time at Texas' Dilley family detention center.