U.S. Immigration has announced a priority effort on immigration enforcement. This has resulted in significantly more deportations for criminal infractions. In fact, the fiscal year 2012 target of 210,000 was exceeded by 15,390 as the total number of ICE deportations for criminal immigrants was 225,930. The trend will continue and probably increase in 2013 as immigration continues to be a national political issue. Those who are not in full compliance with immigration rules, visas, and other paperwork are at a greater risk of enforcement activity.
The latest tactics used by ICE include deportations for traffic violations and other low-level criminal offenses. ICE has been systematically trolling state motor vehicle records for traffic ticket information on any foreign-born driver. ICE has also been deploying ICE agents to traffic safety checkpoints conducted by local police departments for on-the-spot processing of immigration violations. These measures are Washington-approved and have proven effective, so expect them to increase in 2013.
Many people don’t like the cost of hiring an attorney for traffic matters or other low-level violations. However, there may be more than a fine and your insurance rate at issue if you are an illegal alien or out of status on your visa. You could face deportation proceedings. On a pure cost-effective analysis, the cost of an attorney to represent a defendant in a traffic matter is generally far less than at immigration proceedings. A good attorney may be able to avoid a conviction violation that could potentially result in deportation. Thus, investing in good representation fits squarely with the old adage “pay (less) now or pay (more) later.”
Illegal aliens are encouraged to contact an attorney with experience in both traffic and immigration matters if they find themselves facing these serious circumstances. Be sure your attorney is both aware of your immigration status and is knowledgeable in the collateral consequences of traffic and criminal violations.