It is often difficult for non-citizens living in the United States to get a firm grasp on what may or may not threaten their ability to remain here in the country. This can even vary from state to state, and in many cases, agencies that enforce immigration law become overzealous and may act to deport an individual unjustly. The truth is that the law surrounding immigration and criminal charges can be vague, but it is still the law, not a deck of Tarot cards or tea leaves to be read.
There are certain crimes that, if committed by a non-immigrant, are generally considered fairly minor from the legal standpoint. However, if an immigrant commits the same crime, it could be grounds for deportation. If you're an immigrant, this is what you should know.
It has been an exceptionally difficult season for immigrant communities in Georgia and around the country, and it does not look like things will be getting much easier any time soon. Right here in the Atlanta area, Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently performed "targeted raids" along Buford Highway, detaining around 40 individuals. Under the new, expanded standards for detaining and deporting immigrants, ICE is reportedly picking up individuals who have any kind of violation on their records, not only violent offenses. According to some sources, even those around them may be in danger of being detained and deported.
Technically, many in the U.S. government will tell you that serious offenders and repeat offenders are their main targets when deporting non-citizens.
You want to come into the United States to craft a new future for yourself and your family, but you have a criminal record. When you apply to come in legally, is that going to make it impossible? Does the United States have a standing order that bars anyone with a criminal record from entering, or can you still immigrate?
Experts warn that it's dangerous to craft immigration laws on a basis of fear, rather than facts. They note that this can happen, as immigrants are sometimes painted as likely criminals and laws get voted in because people believe they're helping to keep crime down.
As the Great Melting Pot, the American Dream is supposed to be available to all, not a privileged few. Unfortunately, some parts of the country can be more difficult places to carve out a piece of the pie for immigrants, despite the relatively short amount of time that the vast majority of American citizens can trace their heritage within the country's borders. Georgia is no exception — in fact, Georgia is among several states with laws that seem intended to make life and the pursuit of the American Dream for the immigrant even more difficult.
As an immigrant, it can be difficult to know what your rights are if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. However, simply because you are not a fully-fledged citizen does not mean that you do not deserve to have your rights respected. A general understanding of what you are entitled to and what burdens you face as an immigrant in Georgia can help you avoid potentially devastating consequences.
Unfortunately for those who immigrated to the United States, the law is not quite the same in how it doles out punishment or leniency as it is with fully-fledged citizens. In fact, the law carries an entirely separate category of offenses that can be leveled at immigrants. If you are an immigrant, or if you have a loved one who is an immigrant, it is always wise to educate yourself as much as possible about the law and have a plan in place for what steps to take if you find yourself on the wrong side of it.
Thousands of people in Georgia and across the nation have immigrated here from other countries. Many of them have fled violent circumstances or extreme poverty and have come to the United States in search of better lives. Dreams for a successful future may come to a screeching halt if an immigrant is arrested and taken to jail. Many who have been in such situations have said they immediately fear deportation when incidents like this occur. Immigrants are advised to seek clarification of the laws and regulations that govern such matters ahead of time so they will be aware of criminal defense options should a need arise.