When an individual that is not a U.S. Citizen is arrested either in New York City or New Jersey for certain criminal accusations, it is not uncommon for Immigration Officials to issue an Immigration Detainer. If this happens, the individual or his friends or family members should immediately spring to action.
In the past, our office has dealt with these detainers in various ways. One way would be to contact Immigration and see if they would lift the detainer under the facts of the individual’s case. Perhaps the criminal charges should not warrant a detainer and discretion could be used by Immigration to decline on Immigration action. Another possibility is that an appropriate agreement could be reached with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to allow the person released on his or her recognizance or low immigration bond for future appearance in Immigration Court after issuance of a Notice to Appear. Less favorable but sometimes inevitable, would be to make an application or motion for reconsideration of the person’s release on bond before an Immigration Judge either in New York City usually to be scheduled at 201 Varick Street, New York, NY or at 970 Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. Despite what method is available, one thing that is sure is that quick action can make a tremendous difference.
Keep in mind, unlike criminal proceedings in criminal court, individuals in removal or deportation proceedings do not have a right to be represented free of charge. So, make a sound investment in hiring an immigration lawyer with experience in these issues. Otherwise, it may result in some irreparable damage.
Clients keep asking me why immigration (also known as DHS – Department of Homeland Security or ICE -Immigration Customs Enforcement) is trying now to deport someone for a very old conviction.There really is no one answer to this question. I have several opinions and have spoke to several federal agents about this. The answers are numerous and range from advances in technology which bring to light these old convictions, sharing of information between the various agencies, as well as increase of enforcement against individuals with criminal convictions. There are usually positive and negative outcomes from new laws. As new laws or regulations have come out that seem to favor legalization, laws that have been on the books but not enforced are now being overzealously enforced.
I recently had several cases dealing with individuals who had old drug convictions and were placed into deportation and removal by the issuance of a Notice to Appear which demanded that the person appear at the Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza, New York NY. These clients were in panic and couldn’t believe that due to a single criminal conviction many years ago, Immigration would now try to deport them. After reassuring them that we could plead our case in front of an Immigration Judge, they felt a sense of comfort. In fact, in the past few months, I have even been successful in getting Immigration to agree to close the deportation/removal case before we even got to trial.
As I usually state, when it comes to criminal issues, do not attempt to handle the matter on your own. If money is the issues, it will become a bigger issue and more expensive issue down the road, if you don’t have an attorney experienced with criminal issues in Immigration Court.