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US immigration law and criminal justice often intersect

In Florida and elsewhere, there are undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes. In many cases, when local law enforcement releases people from custody, notice is sent to federal immigration agencies. This is not always done, as was evident in a recent series of releases that took place in another state.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were reportedly targeting certain people. Those at risk appear to have been people who had recently spent time in jail and were convicted of drug crimes. A deputy field officer, who was part of the operation that resulted in at least 19 arrests, said ICE was merely going after people who pose a serious threat to public safety.

Some of the arrests apparently took place at courthouses, which has many immigrant advocates upset. In the past, immigration officers avoided taking people into custody when they were showing up for court appointments or going to church, etc. Many advocates say that the increase in immigrant arrests at such locations has deterred people from attending court hearings and cooperating with law enforcement agencies.

ICE said it typically requests detainers from local law enforcement agencies when it is getting ready to release undocumented nationals who have been convicted of certain crimes. The immigration agency hopes the law enforcement officers will hold immigrants who fit the classification beyond their dates of release, so that immigration officials can move in and take them into custody to begin remove proceedings. A U.S. immigration law attorney can provide support for any Florida resident currently facing problems related to these topics.

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