ICE Raids: The Consequences of Having a Criminal Conviction on Your Immigration Record

A major immigration raid on Mississippi food processing factories left roughly 700 workers detained and uncertain about their futures.

On August 7, hundreds of federal law enforcement officials descended on seven food processing plants owned by four companies. Federal officials accused the companies of “willfully and unlawfully employing” workers who are in the country without legal documents.

The action represented the largest immigration raid in a decade. While roughly 300 people were released within 24 hours, hundreds more remained in detention inside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Louisiana.

Why a Criminal Charge Increases the Risk of Deportation

Historically, ICE has drawn distinctions between groups of immigrants when pursuing enforcement actions.

For example, ICE has prioritized detaining and deporting immigrants with criminal records and final removal orders. Immigrants who do not have a criminal record or a final removal order have often been released after being detained, or not targeted for arrest at all.

Under the Obama Administration in 2016, 82% of all undocumented immigrants arrested by ICE had criminal records. This means that immigrants who avoided criminal charges were likely to avoid arrest and deportation even if caught up in a raid.

This trend has reversed to some degree under the Trump Administration. Yet undocumented immigrants with a criminal record are still roughly twice as likely to be arrested by ICE, compared to those without a criminal record.

Given that ICE only has a large enough budget to complete about 400,000 deportations each year, it seems unlikely that the rate of arrests for immigrants without criminal records will climb much higher.

This means that if you’re an immigrant with a record — or you have pending charges — it’s imperative that you take action to clear your criminal history.

For most people, that means meeting with an attorney who has the experience to understand the challenges you’re facing and the legal mechanisms that can help keep your record clean.

Finding the Right Los Angeles Criminal Law Attorney

If you’re an immigrant facing an uncertain future, an experienced criminal law attorney can fight to keep your record clean. A criminal charge puts you at much greater risk of arrest, and may expedite deportation proceedings.

An experienced attorney can contest criminal charges at trial, or plea bargain to ensure that your record remains as clean as possible.

If you’re an immigrant who has already been convicted of a crime, an experienced attorney may be able to expunge your prior conviction in some cases.

At Goldstein Law, we’ve been fighting for the rights of Californians for decades. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us be a strong advocate for your interests.