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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Secure Communities Change in CA Could Bring Relief to Some Immigrants

 

By Ramon Trujillo

At Gupta & Trujillo, our practice focuses mainly on immigration and criminal defense.  Given that we are located in Southern California and our communities have many individuals who are not citizens, we tend to encounter many criminal defendants with more complex situations.  Pending criminal charges are daunting to any person, especially when it is likely that jail time could be faced.  Non-citizen criminal defendants face an even more troublesome situation as the wrong type of plea or conviction could spell a world of difference in terms of what happens to them after the criminal proceedings are concluded.

Currently, non-citizens who get placed in the criminal justice system for whatever type of crime, tend to be held, without bail because an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) hold is placed on them.  This means that once the criminal proceedings conclude, they are transported to a different holding facility in order to commence immigration proceedings. 

This process is part of what is known as “Secure Communities”  - a federal initiative, intended to deport serious or violent crime offenders.  While the thoughts behind Secure Communities had great intentions, in practice it has helped deport individuals with strong family ties to the United States who were not violent offenders. 

Unfortunately, how the system works, being detained by the police, for even minor offenses or citations, such as driving without a license, could mean that a non-citizen could be placed in deportation proceedings.  As part of Secure Communities, law enforcement is supposed to send all arrestees’ fingerprints to federal immigration officials who usually request law enforcement to place an ICE hold on the individual.  While some of these defendants at times do not actually face criminal charges, they are guilty of the federal violation of being in the country without having been paroled or admitted legally.  Due to this violation, those non-violent, non-criminal immigrants find themselves in deportation proceedings.  

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Chief, behind Sheriff Leroy Baca’s leadership, has already instituted a more selective reporting system, where the LASD only reports those who are actually violent offenders.  Now, this process can be a statewide method. 

On December 4, 2012, California Attorney General Kamala Harris stated that local law enforcement agencies were not obligated to comply with the federal program launched in 2008.   This announcement could spell relief for many undocumented Californians who could face deportation for almost nothing.   Read the full article, published by the Los Angeles Times here










Law Offices of Ramon Trujillo assists clients with Immigration and Criminal Defense in Orange, Irvine, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Tustin, Placentia, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Brea, Stanton, Fountain Valley, Midway City, Costa Mesa, Westminster and throughout all of Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, the Inland Empire, and San Diego County.



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| Phone: 800-846-0935

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