ICE Arrests 36 Aliens in Gulf Coast Operation

September 18, 2012

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted another sweep in the State of Florida netting 36 aliens with criminal convictions or egregious immigration law violations. The operation lasted five days and occurred in and around the Gulf Coast area. The last operation that netted dozens of immigrants occurred in Miami and the South Florida region. All those arrested were deemed by ICE to be immigration fugitives or immigration violators. The sweeps conducted by ICE are becoming more frequent and are focusing on different areas of Florida and around the United States. Once a person has been arrested by ICE, few options remain for those in custody. Anyone having a friend or family member in immigration custody should contact both an immigration and criminal lawyer to determine if the person being held in custody can take legal action to avoid deportation.

In the latest operation, immigrants were taken into custody for criminal convictions for multiple offenses including: aggravated assault, burglary, battery on a law enforcement officer, identity theft, cocaine possession, simple battery, fraud, forgery, driving under the influence (DUI), and domestic violence related charges. Five of the 36 taken into custody had been previously ordered to leave the country, but failed to leave as directed by ICE authorities. Six of those taken into custody had already been deported and illegally re-entered the country. Of the 36 individuals arrested, three were women. Those taken into to custody came from countries such as Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Vietnam, Thailand, Iran, and the Czech Republic.

Anyone taken into to custody for a prior criminal record, should immediately consult with both an immigration and criminal attorney. Immigration lawyers are useful in presenting a case in front of an immigration judge in federal court. However, the a person's release from custody cannot be generally secured until a criminal defense lawyer successfully files and wins and motion to vacate a criminal record and then secures a dismissal of the charges. Motions to vacate have been increasingly difficult to win as the appellate courts have seriously eroded the laws allowing for the filing of a successful motion for post-conviction relief.

However, experienced criminal lawyers are often able to successfully file and win these motions with supporting mitigation packets. The mitigation packets submitted to prosecutors must contain tax returns, marriage and birth certificates of the spouse and children born of the marriage, and supporting letters from employers, friends and family. Despite the disintegration of the laws allowing for post-conviction relief, equity can play a large part in successfully obtaining the release of a friend or loved one from immigration custody.

ICE has given no indication that they intend to let up on the immigrations sweeps they conduct at random times and locations. An official from ICE was quoted as saying, "These arrests of convicted criminal and repeat immigration offenders demonstrate ICE's ongoing commitment to public safety." Anyone who is an immigrant and has a prior criminal record should consult with an attorney because inevitably, the federal authorities will come knocking. Repairing a criminal record is much easier when a person is out of custody with no pending immigration charges, as favorably resolving these cases sometimes takes months, sometimes even exceeding a year.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Arrests 36 Fugitives, Criminal Aliens in Gulf Coast Operation, WCTC.TV.com, September 18, 2012.