New Policies Get Rid Of Fines And Arrests Of Immigrants At Certain Locations
If you are an undocumented immigrant, and you face deportation, the consequences of being taken out of the country are stressful enough. But for many years, the threat of deportation has been occupied with another threat—the fine that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has put on those who are undocumented.
Fines for Deportation
In reality, if you are deported, you’ll never pay that fine, and the government is not tracking you down in whatever country you are deported to in order to collect on that fine. In fact, ICE reports that only about 1% of the fines assessed, are or were ever collected.
But for many immigrants who may fight deportation and win, or who find other ways to remain in the country, even legally, that fine doesn’t go away, and the government can and will collect on it.
Fining is Expensive and Unnecessary
The government has now said that it will stop enforcing these fines, finding them ineffective, and noting that rarely if ever will an immigrant voluntarily leave the country, just to avoid imposition of the fine. Fining undocumented immigrants is not new—it has been the law for nearly 20 years—but only in 2018 did ICE actively begin collecting on these fines.
In one case, an undocumented immigrant reported, through her attorney, having a fine of nearly $500,000 assessed against her when she had taken sanctuary in a church to avoid deportation. Many immigrants do just this, and ICE generally will refrain from pulling people out of houses of worship. Still, for those seeking refuge anywhere, the fines added up.
Courthouse Arrests to Stop
The government also announced that it would stop making deportation arrests in courthouses. Previously, ICE had announced a policy of arresting immigrants who show up to courthouses no matter why they were there—even if they were there for nothing related to immigration or their immigration status.
The practice was widely criticized, as it deterred immigrants from testifying in court when they may be important witnesses, and denied them access to courts, as many feared filing or defending lawsuits would tip ICE off as to their whereabouts. Many prosecutors reported having problems when they had to prosecute crimes, but immigrants were vital witnesses.
Arrests will be allowed if there is the threat of imminent danger, and deportation actions around courthouses can move forward if there’s immediate risk or if agents are in the process of pursuing a fleeing undocumented immigrant.
The current administration had also previously announced that it would stop enforcing deportation, or taking immigrants into custody, at vaccination sites, in order to encourage undocumented immigrants to get vaccinated.
Don’t leave your status in this country to chance. We can help you navigate the complex waters of immigration law. Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group today for help if you face deportation or any kind of immigration enforcement action or penalty.