President Obama has again directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to limit deportations of certain illegal immigrants ― in this case, telling them to avoid deporting parents who have minor children. The policy directive also cautioned immigration enforcement officials to allow illegal aliens who are arrested or detained to be able to visit with their children and be involved in court proceedings involving their family.
The move comes on the heels of Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano’s earlier announcement that her department will focus on deporting those undocumented aliens who have a criminal record or are habitual violators of immigration laws. Last year, the President issued an executive order granting a temporary reprieve from removal to qualifying young illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children, often referred to as “Dreamers” based on the unsuccessful DREAM Act legislation.
With immigration reform currently frozen in the House of Representatives the latest move did not sit well with many House republicans including Virginia Republican and House Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who complained that the latest directive undermines U.S. federal authorities’ ability to enforce the country’s immigration laws. It will be interesting to see if the President makes any other unilateral moves if an immigration reform bill is not passed soon.
The grounds for removal and deportation from the U.S.
A removal proceeding is initiated by a Notice to Appear at a hearing before an immigration law judge. The notice includes the legal authority for the removal proceeding, the charges and the alleged acts committed which violated the law. The alien has a right to legal counsel and the hearing will be adjourned to give them time to obtain legal representation.
Pursuant to federal law an alien may be deported and removed from the United States for violating laws such as:
- Illegally entering the U.S.
- Overstaying a visa or remaining in the country without legal status
- The commission of certain crimes
- Fraud such as marriage fraud in an effort to obtain a green card
- Drug possession
Deportation is a scary matter, and anyone facing removal proceedings should be represented by an experienced immigration attorney who can help them in defending against deportation by applying all legal defenses possible in an effort to keep families together.