Radical Changes in ICE Guidelines for Criminal Offenses


Fighting a criminal charge in the U.S. is stressful enough, but adding the additional worry of deportation to that battle is even more daunting, especially throughout the Trump administration. Over the last four years, President Trump’s immigration crackdown has been vastly rolled back by the new Biden administration. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is now more flexible with those arrested or charged with a crime. This is wonderful news for undocumented persons here, especially for an undocumented person fighting a criminal charge.

So what does the change in practice and policy mean? What do you do with an undocumented person in jail for a criminal case? How do you get them out? Policy changes don’t change our questions about successfully fighting a criminal case. Still, those changes in policy do mean a change in your defense strategy and new considerations in criminal cases that make it imperative to have a criminal defense attorney who is also practiced in immigration law. Let’s take a look at that.

Reevaluate Your Strategy

A good defense attorney knows the key to overcoming a criminal charge is a well-planned strategy, strengthened by experience and knowledge in our ever-shifting immigration and criminal policies. You might be undocumented and facing criminal charges, or perhaps someone you know is in this situation. It’s imperative to revisit your defense plan in the wake of the new Biden policies. We are now seeing more leniency for criminal offenses committed by undocumented persons. You may have been denied bond previously, but the new reforms mean you could even be released without even having to see a judge. Having an updated strategy from a knowledgeable criminal defense and immigration attorney is key to knowing what changes you need to make to increase your likelihood of remaining in the U.S.

We’re seeing people who were denied bond release from a judge, to now some cases being considered for bond release. 

Down But Not Out

As mentioned, criminal offenses committed by undocumented persons and immigrants are treated quite differently by the Biden administration, and part of that is new consideration of facts in your case. Extenuating circumstances and painting the full picture surrounding a criminal charge were not considerations in the Trump-era ICE practices, but Biden has changed that. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who knows immigration will be able to review your case’s facts and present those circumstances that lessen a charge and could lead to release. If you’ve previously thought you had no option in your criminal defense as an immigrant or undocumented person, don’t count yourself out just yet.

 A Foot in Both Worlds

Some may believe ICE’s shift to prioritize threats to national security and public safety means that ICE is no longer aware of immigrant and undocumented criminal offenders, but that is not the case. ICE is still aware you are here, and you are still at risk for deportation. The key to avoiding deportation comes in having an attorney experienced in both criminal and immigration defense. This type of attorney will be better capable of evaluating your case and taking the necessary steps to reduce your charges. Thus, decreasing your chance of being deported and increasing the likelihood of being released from jail.

If you are undocumented or on a pathway to citizenship and face criminal charges, do not risk your future by using a criminal attorney who doesn’t know anything about immigration and vice versa. Do not risk your freedom with an immigration attorney who doesn’t know anything about criminal defense. You really need an expert in both realms, and the experienced immigration and criminal defense attorneys at Peek Law Group are happy to put their 20+ years of experience into fighting for your defense. If you have questions about your case and want to reevaluate where you stand under these new ICE practices, please reach out to us. We’re glad to help. Also, continue to follow us on social media as we discuss these policy changes and strategies that could lead to your freedom and a potential path to citizenship.

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