Immigration raids: striking fear in the hearts of immigrant communities

Federal authorities launched sweeping raids in immigrant communities in several states later last week in an effort to locate individuals who are undocumented.  Raids took place in California, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, New York and here in Virginia.  How many individuals were detained is unknown, but it is the first of what will probably a trend in the future since President Trump promised to deport immigrants with criminal records.  A number that he puts at 2 to 3 million, while experts say that there are only 1.9 million “removable aliens” and of those only 690,000 are here illegally.

David Marin, an official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), said that the raids were routine “surge operations” aimed at “priority cases,” or people in this country illegally with criminal convictions.  According to Martin, ICE made 161 arrests and 151 of those individuals had criminal convictions.  Others had outstanding deportation orders, were in court proceedings or in the country illegally.  One source quoted by the Washington Post stated that big cities will be targeted for future raids because “they tend to have a lot of illegal immigrants.”

The raids are a reality for our community; there are many immigrant communities living in the DC metro area and throughout Virginia.  Many clients have asked me if they can call me if they get detained.  The answer is “yes,” of course.  We will do all that we can to fight to keep families together, but we encourage our clients to prepare for the worst situation.  You must consider if you were to be deported who would take care of your children?  If they are U.S. citizens, they can remain in the country but what adult can assume responsibility?   Do not wait until you are detained or worse, removed from the United States to make these decisions.  Contact our office if you would like to help in planning for an unforeseeable future.

Our experienced immigration attorney, Lesley Ellefson-Porras, has assisted countless immigrants with family reunification; citizenship, fiancé visas and unlawful presence waivers.  She is available to meet with you in her office in Alexandria, Virginia.  Since immigration is a federal matter, Ms. Ellefson-Porras can serve clients from anywhere in the United States.  Most of her clients reside in Virginia, Maryland, and the of Columbia.  Contact her today at 703-596-0235.