Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Immigration, Deportation and Crime

Posted on: September 11, 2008 at 11:15 a.m.

When a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney has a client who is not a legal citizen, the circumstances surrounding the case become increasingly difficult. One of the major challenges is that the anti-immigration forces in America rarely take a serious look at the realities of immigration.

For example, non-citizens who have been deported at least once from the United States are far more likely than other immigrants to repeatedly commit crimes, according to a study by the nonprofit Rand Corp. Realists might recognize that even erecting a wall between the United States and Mexico can't stop the flow of immigration, so properly handling these relationships would stem the flow of crime. However, many illegal immigrants are treated poorly and the criminal justice system is targeted towards sending even those accused of crimes back to Mexico. This study proves that such an approach is counterproductive as 75% of those who are deported are arrested again on suspicion of committing another crime within a year of their release.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has pursued immigrants with criminal records who have returned after being deported, posting agents in some U.S. attorney's offices in key cities to help with the cases of such offenders. Between Oct. 1, 2007, and Aug. 4, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported nearly 265,700 non-citizens nationwide, including about 83,700 criminals. Almost 17,600 illegal immigrants, including 6,400 criminals, were deported from Los Angeles County and the surrounding counties.

Finding a competent and skilled Los Angeles criminal attorney to handle immigration matters can be difficult, but there is a variety of laws and jurisdictions to handle. However, deportation may be preventable, especially when a defendant has financial resources to bail out immediately after an arrest. In Los Angeles County, a defendant is typically transferred into Sheriff's custody from the arresting agency's jail within 48 hours of arrest. This happens ordinarily right after the arraignment. Subsequently, a criminal disposition may be reached in court without jail time. An immigration hold in Sheriff's jail is avoided, as the accused is out on bail and his immigration status is typically not checked within the court system.

Tagged as: immigration consequences

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