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What non-citizens should do if detained by the police

Here's a bit of advice you probably thought you'd never hear from an attorney in a million years: stay in jail. While that may be counter to everything you've ever heard, for illegal immigrants, staying in jail may be the best course of action. Here's why: there are a host of offenses for which the federal government can deport an immigrant. You may think you've won your freedom when they release you, but members of ICE could be waiting to take you into custody, where you could be held for months and then deported. For many, that could mean being separated from family members and loved ones, perhaps for years at a time.

Oftentimes, family members think they're doing the right thing by bailing out a detained immigrant, but they've actually sealed his or her fate. In fact, as bad as it sounds, leaving that person in detention could mean the difference between getting to stay in this country or being deported.

So, what should you do if a non-citizen family member has been detained for a crime? Your best bet may be to speak with an immigration attorney. He or she can focus on the criminal charges and try to get them knocked down to an offense that won't lead to deportation. If it's too late for that, an attorney can represent the immigrant in removal proceedings.

Here at Taylor, Lee & Associates, we have a wealth of experience helping non-citizens get justice. Our page on immigration detention can provide you with more information.

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