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Victim of crime unwittingly triggers arrest by ICE

Criminal charges are stressful for most people to face. The consequences for a conviction can be serious and include large fines and possibly even jail time. These situations have even higher stakes for immigrants. This is because in addition to the criminal consequences that others could face, they might also find themselves facing deportation. In some situations an immigrant could unwittingly find this is happening to them.

This was the case for an immigrant who actually contacted the police himself. When he did so, it was because he wanted to report his vehicle as missing. When law enforcement found his car, in addition to making sure he owned it, they also checked to see if there were any warrants out for his arrest. As it turns out there was, though at the time it was unclear why the Immigration and Customs Enforcement had issued a failure-to-appear warrant. After the police failed to learn anything more after contacting the feds, the man was released. After he left the police station he was taken into custody by an ICE agent.

Later, ICE indicated the man had an outstanding deportation order from 2005, when he arrived in the United States and was arrested for misdemeanor DUI. The man came to the U.S. from El Salvador, seeking asylum from gangs in that country. Following that arrest he was also released, pending a hearing. He was allegedly never called to that hearing, leading to the deportation order.

The case is of particular interest to many where due process is concerned because the city in which the man was arrested has a sanctuary-city law in place. This prohibits the city’s law enforcement from working with federal immigration authorities except in situations where the immigrants in question are violent felons.

As this case illustrates, deportation matters are not always straightforward. Accordingly, it is generally a good idea for those accused of the crime to work with an immigration lawyer.

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