A resident alien or person with temporary residential status in the U.S. faces more than incarceration or fines if convicted of a crime in this country. He or she could end up being deported as well.
Federal immigration agents have just completed a five-day nationwide campaign to apprehend foreign nationals convicted of a crime and therefore subject to deportation. In all, 2,059 people were arrested, including 117 in South Florida.
Of the 2,059 arrested people, more than 1,000 had been convicted of felonies, such as voluntary manslaughter, rape, child pornography and robbery. The rest had been convicted of misdemeanors, mostly drinking and driving.
The purpose of the sweep, titled Operation Cross Check, is to remove people from the U.S. who pose a threat to public safety, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field chief for Miami. Citizens cannot be deported for committing crime, but federal law does allow deportation proceedings for undocumented immigrants and those with permanent or temporary status to live here.
Since 2011, ICE has arrested 12,440 people who had been convicted of a crime in this country. Among those caught in the latest sweep were 476 accused of being deported and returning to the country. Of these, 163 will be charged with illegal re-entry, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.
Obviously, being charged with a crime can have increased implications for a resident alien. If convicted, he or she may need the services of an immigration attorney to protect his or her rights during a deportation proceeding.