If you’re an immigrant in the United States and you’re accused of a crime, you may be worried about the impact a criminal conviction could have on your immigration status. In some cases, you could face deportation if you are convicted of a crime. This could greatly affect the decisions you and your criminal defense attorney make regarding your case.
However, you may never have the opportunity to defend against these charges in court due to new policies instituted by Donald Trump’s administration.
Is ICE Really Targeting Courthouses?
According to reports, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents – some in uniform and some in plain clothes – have made several arrests recently inside of courtrooms or courthouses and just outside of court complexes. One such instance occurred in the hallways of a Pasadena courthouse, the LA Times reported.1 Similar incidents reportedly took place in Texas and Colorado.
These recent reports do not necessarily indicate a new practice. In fact, Virginia Kice, a spokesperson for ICE, told the Los Angeles Daily Journal that agents had made arrests outside of courthouses under Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations. However, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of ICE arrests made at courthouses since President Trump took office.
Should You Go to Court if You are an Immigrant to the U.S.?
All of this information may scare you if you are an immigrant to the U.S. This means you could be targeted by ICE agents just for showing up to court. So how can you avoid being taken into custody by immigration officers?
In many cases, you can be protected if you are wise enough to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer to appear in court for you without you having to show up in court. This is often legal if you are accused of a misdemeanor crime.
If you are accused of a felony, you need to immediately contact a criminal defense law firm to map out a strategy to protect you in the best way possible. This may help you avoid being picked up by ICE when you enter a courtroom anywhere in California.
Will ICE Continue Making Arrests at Courthouses?
In response to these recent events, the California chief justice is asking Trump and his administration to stop ICE agents from “stalking” courthouses to detain undocumented immigrants.
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye urged the Trump administration to stop using courthouses as “bait” to make arrests. The judge said she believes arresting undocumented immigrants at courthouses will encourage people not to show up to court and harm the public’s trust in the justice system.
“Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair. They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice,” Cantil-Sakauye said in her letter.
Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney at Wallin & Klarich
If you are accused of a crime, you face severe consequences. It is possible that you could face deportation, especially in today’s political climate. To protect you from these serious penalties, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled lawyers have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing criminal charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, our experienced criminal lawyers are available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ice-courthouse-arrests-20170315-story.html ]↩