Events are currently being sponsored to help immigrants become more aware of their rights when it comes to police investigating criminal matters. The concern is that too often there is little trust between police officers and immigrants, and that immigrants would be less willing to report crimes if inquiries regarding their immigration status are may as a result of such reporting.
At one such event, a California police chief will address police department's policies regarding dealings with undocumented immigrants. Many immigrants remain unaware of this department's policy forbidding police officers from inquiring into the immigration status of individuals caught up in less serious crimes.
This particular practice had at one time been widely practiced. This practice would affect more than just those accused of committing crimes. Police also would question witnesses and even victims of crimes about their immigration status. This practice would thus create an incentive for undocumented immigrants to not report crimes at all.
This sort of practice, which is still happening in certain localities, would also create another hardship for these immigrants. Often even the accusation of an immigrant being here illegally could lead to a deportation hearing. And unlike many other types of hearings, undocumented immigrants may only have one opportunity to make their case.
Because of the importance of a deportation hearing and the need for the matter to be handled correctly, those facing deportation for whatever reason would be best represented by an attorney whose practice focuses specifically upon deportation issues.
The consequences of deportation can be severe. Besides economic hardship, immigrants may be forced to return to situation that they were fleeing to begin with, and they may not be able to return to the United States for at least five years.
Source: The Press-Enterprise, "Riverside: Police Chief Diaz to speak at immigration forum," by David Olson, Feb. 7, 2013
- Our website discusses in great detail issues dealing with deportation defense.