JEFF SESSIONS'S STRINGENT STANCE ON IMMIGRATION
Immigration was a hot topic during and through the whole of last year. Trump's entire campaign and now presidency hinges on his stance on immigration. His newly appointed US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions made it clear that immigration reform and the laws that surround unlawful immigration is top priority.
Similar to the tough on crime stance taken in the 80's, Sessions stated that this administration is putting forward a new era, one that is tough on what he calls “illegal immigration.” At a conference in Nogales, Arizona, Sessions spoke at the US- Mexico border where he said “for those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned, this is a new era. This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws and the catch and release practices of old are over.”
New law, or stronger enforcement of existing ones?
The immigration law makes it quite simple, if you are an immigrant and you commit a crime, you will end up in court. The court is free to sentence and charge you to the full extent of the law. While these laws were present, they were not always put into practice. Prosecuting attorneys have discretion and in the past, have chosen to exercise it in favor of foreigner, more than this new administration liked. It will now become a part of the foreign policy.
Entering the country without proper immigration documentation is a crime. When a foreigner enters the country without the proper immigration documents, it is a misdemeanor. If they attempt to re-enter a second time, they will be charged with a felony. With the presence of certain 'aggravating circumstances', the charges only get more severe. With more concentration on prosecuting these types of crimes, it is important that an undocumented immigrant seeks the advice of counsel before entering into any plea agreements or pursing the matter to trial.
Sessions also noted that a memo has been sent to all US attorneys to focus on this issue of immigration. Particular importance is being laid on unlawful entry into the country. In the speech he also promised to add 50 Immigration Judges by the end of this 2017 year. By the end of 2018, there will be an additional 75 immigration judges appointed. With these new hires, Sessions hopes that the backlogs and lengthy procedures that bog down these immigration cases will ease out.
Whether or not these policies will have an actual impact on illegal immigration is yet to be seen. While most people would agree that there needs to be regulations, the way in which this government proposes to bring about these changes is what a good number of people are finding hard to swallow.
Immigrants need to be extra diligent when navigating through this new administration. If you are an immigrant and you find yourself in immigration proceedings, it is advisable to seek legal counsel, both criminal and immigrant, before signing any documents or making any statements.
Jarbath Pena Law Group represents clients in all aspects immigration. Feel free to call the office today at (305) 615-1005 to make an appointment.
We help immigrant families create their new beginnings in the U.S.