After four years of immigration crackdowns under the Trump administration, immigrants in Texas who feared deportation because of criminal charges can rest a little easier. Last February, the Biden administration issued directives rolling back arrests and enforcements carried out by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
A major shift in deportation enforcement
Many immigrants, particularly Latinos, felt that their immigration status was in danger because of criminal charges during the previous presidential administration. Those convicted of minor offenses such as DWI, assault, and other misdemeanors often wondered whether ICE officials would come knocking at their doors to send them back to their home countries. The directive from the current administration indicates that ice agents should shift away from deporting any green card holder who has been convicted of an offense and concentrate on those who have committed serious crimes.
Directives face pushback from some ICE staff
Not everyone in ICE is on board with the directives, which state that the organization should concentrate on threats to public safety and national security when arresting immigrants with questionable immigration statuses. Immigration hawks and some ICE agents say that the directives will prohibit ICE agents from doing their jobs properly. ICE is in charge of deporting immigrants who reside in Texas illegally. However, under the previous administration, this hardline stance involved ICE agents removing immigrants for seemingly minor crimes.
Some immigrants may still face deportation
Not all immigrants convicted of a crime can breathe easier. You can still be deported if you are considered a threat to public safety for a record of violent behavior, well-documented gang affiliations, or aggravated felony convictions or if you have abused a child or have been involved in a major drug offense. Lesser crime would be subject to interpretation.
Getting help on immigration status
You may still believe that your immigration status is in danger because of criminal charges. Knowing what crimes have been prioritized will clear up the issue. Talking with an experienced immigration attorney can give you piece of mind whether you are an illegal looking for a pathway to citizenship or if you have committed a minor crime.