Trend Protecting Rights Of Undocumented Immigrants Continues

Across the country, judicial and executive officials are taking actions which – at least in some states – will shield some undocumented immigrants from potential detentions and arrests. In Illinois, the governor issued an executive order which prohibits the state police authorities from using immigration status as a sole reason to detain someone. In Arizona, a recurring battleground of immigration battles, a federal judge blocked the use by local law enforcement of the criminal offense of “identity theft as a pretext for arresting such immigrants.

Illinois’ Governor, Pat Quinn, noted in his decision to prevent the State Police from arresting individuals exclusively for immigration status violations, that “community policing efforts are hindered” when immigrants who are victims of, or witness to, crimes are wary of cooperating for fear they’ll be deported. Governor Quinn contends that efforts to investigate various types of crimes in Illinois require that immigrants not be discouraged from providing testimony to law enforcement authorities because they fear they will be arrested if they do.  His order prohibits state law enforcement agencies from taking or keeping someone in custody, because of an immigration detainer.  Detainers imposed by U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) will not necessarily be followed as they are merely voluntary, not mandatory, according to Governor Quinn. This interpretation follows the same trend seen in other jurisdictions from California to Pennsylvania where different law enforcement entities are now refusing to comply with these ICE detainers.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in Phoenix ordered an immediate halt to the state’s enforcement of identity theft laws that penalize immigrants in the country illegally for seeking employment.  Judge Campbell noted that there are distinctions between federal laws which make it a criminal offense to use falsified documents and an application for employment.   Merely applying for a job does not violate such laws. In this instance, the judge found that local police forces, particularly the sheriff in Maricopa County, were improperly using Arizona’s identity theft law as a pretext to detain immigrants. The identity theft law was amended in 2007 to include undocumented immigrants applying for jobs in Arizona. Now Judge Campbell agreed with the Plaintiffs who sued the sheriffs objecting to the use of taxpayer dollars to enforce this law which they claim sought to criminalize otherwise appropriate conduct.

The Shulman Law Group endeavors to ensure its clients be kept abreast of all significant developments relating to the process of immigration to the United States. Edward Shulman, Esq, founder of The Shulman Law Group, LLC is a national speaker for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  AILA is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, and to advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice.  In the course of Mr. Shulman’s involvement with AILA, he has been dedicated to educating other immigration attorneys about the import of helping intending immigrants to navigate a new cultural system. He meticulously follows all of the developments occurring in the battle over immigration reform so that he will be prepared to effectively assist his clients obtain residency and legal work status if a new system is enacted.