Separated & Deported

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Immigrants are already under attack and demonized in the current political climate, but they are exceptionally vulnerable when they are arrested and ensnared in the criminal legal system for any reason. 

While recent administrations have latched onto the notion that "criminal aliens" deserve deportation, a system as sprawling, racist, punitive and error-prone as our criminal justice system cannot serve as a reliable measure of who deserves to stay or be forced out.

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Whatiscrim Imm

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The Problem

The entangling of federal immigration law and local law enforcement rips apart families and communities and undermines the local administration of justice without making us safer

An arrest for even a low level offense can lead to ICE arrest, indefinite detention, and deportation proceedings for immigrants who are documented and undocumented. When accessing public transportation without paying, marijuana possession, or a dismissed criminal case can separate you from your family and banish you from the the country, the punishment far exceeds the crime.

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Undocumented

For those who lack legal status in the US, have immigration applications pending, are here as visitors or students, or think they're U.S. Citizens but the government disagrees, simply getting arrested can mean federal detection, detention and deportation — even if the alleged crime is minor, or the case is ultimately thrown out. 

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Documented

For those who have legal status in the US, like a green card — an arrest is also profoundly dangerous.  A conviction, even for a low-level or non-violent offense like possession of marijuana, can lead to deportation, denial of re-entry into the US or denial of any future chance at citizenship no matter how long you've been in the country.

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DON'T BELIEVE THE "CRIMINAL ALIEN" SCARE TACTICS

The truth is that immigrants commit crimes at far lower rates than native-born citizens. Our neighbors, families and friends, who are presumed innocent, with no criminal records, or with decades-old arrests, have become victims of a deportation machine that is identified more by its inhumanity than by any measure of justice or fairness.

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Alex's Story

Alex Lora has been A green card holder since the age of. 7. He has been in the United States legally for 25 years. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to a drug offense. A year later, he was arrested by ICE. He was detained for 6 months without a bail hearing. The life he created for himself and his family, including a young son, was nearly ripped away.

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A Deportation Machine

30%

Increase in nationwide captures by ICE in 2017.

334%

Increase in arrests nationwide by ICE of those with no criminal record.

1200%

Increase in raids by ICE in NYC courts.

~44,000

Daily average population in immigration detention nationwide.

Since 2017, we have seen a dramatic increase in immigration enforcement through local justice systems, using local police, jails, or courthouses, including housing and family court, to hunt immigrants.

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The federal authorities claim they are making America safe again, but their immigration enforcement policies are making all of us less safe.

Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez

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This is what it looks like

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When ICE Is Outside Our Doors

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When ICE is Inside Our Homes

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When ICE is In Our Communities, In Our Streets

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If ICE Arrests Us

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The process is the punishment

Unlike criminal defendants, immigrants facing deportation have no right to a lawyer, no right to a bail hearing pending their proceedings, and no right to a speedy trial. 

"It is treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust," Federal Judge, Katherine B. Forrest observed. "Regimes where those who have long lived in a country may be taken without notice from streets, homes and work. And sent away.”

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Jailed

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Separation & deportation is not the answer

America needs humane immigration reform. A smart, compassionate and sustainable approach to answering the millions of global citizens escaping violence, crushing poverty and environmental degradation and who seek opportunities in the US. One that’s consistent with our rich and successful history of welcoming immigrants.

In the meantime, we work to defend and protect our clients, their families, and their communities in encounters with immigration enforcement. 

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Got a story to tell?

Have you, a loved one, or a client experienced the intersection of criminal and immigration enforcement? Whether you’re a fellow public defender or other frontline practitioner, or directly impacted in some way way by the system, we’d love to hear from you.

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