A great deal of attention has been paid to the ongoing immigration reform debate brewing in the United States. Several developments have cropped up over the past few weeks that further complicate the delicate state of affairs, including conflicting opinions that cluster around President Obama’s proposals for undocumented immigrants. The controversy surrounding the President’s proposed executive action may be acquiring a decent chunk of media attention but there are other immigration issues that pose considerable ramifications for a number of immigrants. One of the more notable occurrences that have garnered a measure of importance deals with the new procedures that have been implemented by the Department of Homeland Security for immigrants who have had a history of criminal convictions.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm of the DHS has recently rolled out a number of changes to the way that they handle release procedures for detained immigrants with a history of criminal convictions. All in all, there are a total of 5 changes that have been implemented. What’s interesting about these changes is that it reflects a sudden shift in the way that ICE officials deal with their policies for immigrants with criminal convictions. ICE officials have expressed that the changes should exponentially increase the level of safety that the American public currently enjoys as well as enhance the confidence that citizens have when it comes to the way that officials enforce immigration policies and regulations.
The major changes that have been stipulated by the ICE officials largely deals with methods of release and detainment of immigrants with specific criminal convictions. Immigrants who are slated for a release should be backed by the approval of a supervisor if they have a criminal conviction. Immigrants who possess serious criminal records will remain in detention even if the detention facilities are grappling with resource limitations. For detained immigrants who have been convicted of violent crimes, ICE will form a panel of senior managers to discuss the possibility of discretionary release for these specific cases. After previously detained immigrants have been released, ICE will continue to monitor them through the use of methods like personal contact and phone reporting. ICE will also bolster its methods of reporting the release of immigrants with criminal convictions to various state law enforcement arms.
Some people feel that these changes may be politically motivated. The timing of the changes that have been announced is suspect given the fact that ICE director Sarah Saldana was slated to testify before congress immediately after the changes were announced. Representatives of immigration rights organizations feel that this move is a way for the ICE director to kowtow to Congress members who don’t support immigrant concerns.
If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding immigration issues, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.