Sep 15, 2017 Arrested undocumented & deportable people make ICE’s job easier
Arrested undocumented and deportable people make the deportation job of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enflorcement) easier, because jail authorities in Virginia and beyond give access to immigration authorities about non-United States citizen detainees.
Virginia law requires jailers to check the immigration status of inmates. Va. Code §§ 19.2-83.2 and 53.1-218. Do people have the right to refuse to divulge their immigration status to jailers and other law enforcement authorities? Of course. But how many decline?
If my non-United States citizen client might get a deportable conviction, among my key goals is to avoid active jail time, lest that jail time bring my client to the attention of immigration authorities.
Some jails and municipalities assist federal immigration authorities more than others. Sadly, the Fairfax County, Virginia, sheriff’s office has quite the cozy relationship with federal immigration authorities. This relationship includes providing immigration authorities with easy access to the names of Fairfax jail inmates and their immigration information. As far back as 2009, prior Fairfax sheriff Stan Berry entered into a “Secure Communities” Program (a euphemism) with “ICE agents will check available criminal and immigration records of every individual booked by Sheriff’s deputies.”
The Fairfax jail even has a room set aside for ICE employees to interview inmates by video. I wonder how many of these inmates are advised of their right to consult with lawyers before speaking with immigration authorities, and how many do in fact first consult with lawyers.
Adding to this cozy relationship is that the Fairfax jail has been used (at least in the past), for pay, to house federal immigration detainees.
Fairfax is a very ethnically diverse county located less than twenty miles from Washington D.C. Fortunately, the county’s police chief recently confirmed that “[W]e are not participating in immigration raids with ICE,.. We shall not be doing it. We have a policy that’s been in place since 2007.”
However, the Fairfax sheriff, who runs the county jail, is elected and not controlled by the county executive nor its board of supervisors, and continues a cozy relationship with ICE.
The bottom line for non-United States citizens is that a slew of convictions and sentences can lead to adverse immigration consequences, in a zone that has been termed “crimmigration,” where a non-citizen’s criminal defense lawyer needs to be looking out both for the client’s criminal law rights and immigration risks.
Fairfax, Northern Virginia criminal lawyer/ DWI attorney Jon Katz has repeatedly defended non-United States citizens fighting for their liberty in criminal court, while looking out for protecting their immigration situation at the same time. To consult privately about your case with Jon, please call his staff at 703-383-1100.