In a recent meeting with attorneys from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), ICE answered questions and clarified how it is interpreting President Trump’s new directives for increased immigration enforcement.
Hill & Piibe’s earlier blog discussed these directives when they were first published, and below are more details from the recent meeting. We also describe how we are already taking steps for our clients who request assistance.
If you come to ICE’s attention because you are arrested by local police, ICE could review your current criminal charges as well as any criminal history in your past. This means that even if criminal charges in the past (or at the current time) were dismissed against you, ICE could still pursue a case against you. What we are doing now: Hill & Piibe sends out our clients’ fingerprints to see if there is an old criminal record that could hurt them. We file any available motions that could reduce the seriousness of a criminal record. For clients recently arrested, we confer with the criminal attorney on how to plead to pending criminal charges, to avoid unnecessary immigration consequences.
If you are currently applying for a green card or visa, you are not protected. ICE could still decide to pursue a case against you if you come to their attention. What we are doing now: For clients with pending cases, we make sure they have taken precautions and have necessary documentation about their pending case. We also talk with ICE Officers and show them the likelihood of the client gaining lawful status in the near future.
If you are required to check-in with ICE on a regular basis, you might need to prepare and file Form I-246, an official Application for Stay of Removal. What we are doing now: For any client with an upcoming ICE check-in, Hill & Piibe can assess if Form I-246 is recommended, and prepare it with strong evidence and legal arguments. We also will accompany clients to their check-in to argue the case.
ICE is not looking at USCIS records to identify potential targets, so DACA recipients and presumably others who have applied for USCIS benefits will not be discovered and are safe for the moment. However, if you are arrested for a criminal violation, or if you are otherwise “encountered” by ICE, then you will come to ICE’s attention and could be in danger. What we are doing now: We will warn clients if we believe that filing an application with USCIS brings unnecessary risk.
ICE will use video-hearings in federal prisons to expedite the removal of those already in jail. This means no more waiting to be transferred to an ICE detention facility to see an Immigration Judge, and you may have to fight your removal case while in prison. What we are doing now: We have experience representing clients in video removal hearings, and are ready to take on this expanding type of removal case.
No more prosecutorial discretion, and no more closing cases. ICE attorneys will pursue all cases once they are filed with the Immigration Judge, and they will also be more aggressive in filing the Notice to Appear (NTA), which commences a removal case. The meeting did not discuss what is happening with cases that are already administratively closed, although in Los Angeles there are rumors that ICE will try and reopen them. What we are doing now: Hill & Piibe monitors client cases for NTA filing, and argues against ICE trying to reopen administratively closed cases.
Please visit our website for resources on detention and removal, including “Know Your Rights” cards, and ICE Agent cards.
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