With the subject of Immigration being at the forefront of the country’s political debates heading deeper into the Primary presidential campaigns, more scrutiny is being put on how the law is interpreted and enforced for many immigrants, and especially the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. While many jurisdictions and cities have been labeled “Sanctuary Cities” for their more liberal application and enforcement of issues relating to deportation of undocumented immigrants, other jurisdictions can and are still taking more of a conservative hardline approach to deportation laws. There have recently been proposals for new legislation in congress that would seek to withhold crucial federal funding from these so called Sanctuary Cities if they didn’t uphold the letter of the law as it relates to deportation of illegal immigrants.
“For many immigrants its more crucial than ever to understand and be aware of the differences in the different Jurisdictions and how the rules are applied differently in different parts of the country, especially when planning on leaving and re-entering the country.” — Anna Hysell
For LPRs who have an old conviction in their past and have to leave the country, it is crucial to know what you may be facing upon re-entry to the United States and how the application of law can vary from one part of the U.S. to another. Under the law, permanent residents of the United States that have certain convictions, are considered “arriving aliens” and can be subject to mandatory detention. In the 9th Circuit, that rule has been heavily scrutinized in the Courts as the 9th Circuit believes, as a whole, it is unconstitutional to detain an LPR for a prolonged amount of time without substantial justification. Whereas, in the 5th circuit, the most conservative of jurisdictions within the U.S., a small possession charge from decades ago can find you confined for months while trying to battle out your case. So even if you live within the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction, you can find yourself in a detention saga if you travel abroad and return to the United States through a port of entry elsewhere – such as Houston International Airport. We are currently fighting for the release of a long time permanent resident that was detained on return from a vacation with his family.
If you have a conviction of any sort from your past and you are not a U.S. Citizen, it is crucial you are aware of the risks that your travels can bring you upon re-entry into the United States. Contact North County Immigration to learn more about whether your past will haunt you.