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Baton Rouge Legal Blog

Immigration detention is not this man's only problem

Louisiana immigrants who arrived to this state without proper paperwork in order undoubtedly understand what it is like to live life, looking over a shoulder. If a police officer or other member of authority approaches, it may cause stress levels to soar, thinking an arrest may be imminent. Sometimes, immigration detention issues intersect with criminal charges.  

Such is the case for a 52-year-old man in another state. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they are familiar with the man because he has been deported multiple times in the past. He had been living and working in the U.S., however, until the day a SWAT team moved in on him at a local hotel and placed him under arrest on suspicion of murder. The man he is believed to have killed was a co-worker of his and was shot while riding a tractor.

Know your rights as a documented or undocumented immigrant

Xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment have been increasingly apparent in United States culture and in the media recently. Stoked, in part, by politicians seeking reelection, fear of immigration impacting the culture and economy in the United States has led to enforcement crackdowns at the border and across the country.

This crackdown has created a serious social divide that has a chilling effect on many immigrants. Concerns for their safety or ability to stay in the country may prompt some to waive or ignore their basic rights. However, that approach does very little to protect you or the people you love.

How to keep stress to a minimum in the family immigration process

Many Louisiana residents are currently preparing to try to sponsor their relatives so they can come to the United States to live. It is critical that anyone entering the U.S. from another country of origin first gets all the necessary paperwork in order; otherwise, numerous types of legal problems may arise. Even when applications follow all the rules regarding family immigration, complications still sometimes occur, which can cause delays or impediment to legal entrance into this state or any other.

Family-based immigration is a primary means of obtaining visas to legally enter the U.S. The basic premise for application typically includes a U.S. citizen acting as a sponsor for a non-citizen relative living abroad. There are various categories of visas, however, and it is possible to qualify for one but not another.

Immigration detention problem has a man's wife quite worried

A woman who married an immigrant two years ago is now working tirelessly to try to secure her husband's release from a detainment center in another state. He wound up behind bars when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents surrounded him on his way to work. They were in an unmarked vehicle and blocked his path of travel, with several men -- claiming to be agents -- storming toward him and commanding him to get out of his car. The immigration detention situation began with a minor traffic stop several months earlier. Louisiana residents facing similar problems may want to follow this case.              

At that time, a police officer had pulled the man over because one of the headlights on his vehicle was burned out. That same day, he had the headlight repaired and handed the ticket in at the local precinct where police reportedly told him the matter was resolved and he had nothing more to worry about. They did not inform him that, when the traffic stop was made, ICE officials were contacted and informed about his legal status.  

Man hoping for asylum says he fears being kidnapped

Immigration officials have dropped off hundreds of immigrants at a bus station in another state. Various advocate groups have stepped forward to help these people whose ultimate goal is to seek asylum in the United States. Thousands of Louisiana immigrants may recall similar journeys.

One man was receiving staple supplies and respite at the bus station said his brother had been kidnapped. The man fled his country of origin to avoid a similar fate and hopes that by entering the United states, he will be protected. A father carrying an 18-month-old son, the man walked for 27 days, then sought asylum at a U.S. border. Many of the asylum seekers arrived at the bus station after being recently released from detention centers.

Victims of crimes have the right to seek a special "U" visa

Gaps in criminal law, as well as systemic discrimination against undocumented immigrants, often leads to serious, violent crimes going unreported by the victims. Immigrants, particularly those who come to the United States without documentation, may feel reticent to report crimes to law enforcement out of fear of deportation.

All too often, non-citizen residents of the United States experience violence and abuse from those who are legal citizens. Even if the individual who harms a non-citizen immigrant is not a U.S. citizen, there are still special protections in place for the victims of crimes here in the United States, as well as victims of crimes committed by citizens abroad.

Are you worried about an immigration detention situation?

Louisiana residents who follow immigration news have likely read recent stories about family members being separated when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers show up unannounced at people's homes, workplaces or other locations. Immigration detention is a serious concern for many immigrants in this state and others. Numerous issues can prompt an arrest, such as the expiration of a visa, employment without proper documentation or a failed marriage interview.

Spouses who are left at home, and children as well, are often completely distraught and quite fearful as they watch their loved ones get taken into custody. Some spouses have later reported that it took them days or weeks even to learn where their family members had been taken, then more time and stress before they were able to speak to their loved ones. There are also many reports of inhumane conditions and treatment in immigration detention centers throughout the nation.

Family immigration situation turns into crisis

A woman in another state says she and her son are both disabled and they heavily rely on the physical, emotional and financial support her husband provides for their family. She is a U.S. citizen, but her husband is not. The couple recently gathered documentation to attend a family immigration interview to prove the legitimacy of their marriage, a process with which many Louisiana immigrants are familiar. It was a meeting they had been awaiting three years.  

The woman said she felt confident that all would go well and her husband would ultimately be able to legalize his immigration status. When things went wrong during the interview, the woman became distraught. She was asked to leave the room, which is not uncommon during marriage interviews, as officials often question spouses separately to compare their answers. However, when this particular woman exited the room, her husband was then placed under arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.  

Immigration detention finally ends for delivery driver

In July of this year, a young father of two was carrying out his normal duties during his pizza delivery shift. That particular day, his route included a stop to a U.S. army base. The man's life took a sudden turn for the worse when he was arrested and sent to an immigration detention center. Any Louisiana family that includes someone whose legal status is not secure may want to review this case.  

Many people were outraged at the situation. The man had reportedly been ordered to leave the United States in 2010. However, since then, he has been working to rectify that situation. He is married to a U.S. citizen. Both of his children are also U.S. citizens.  

Suicide is problematic in numerous immigration detention centers

If a Louisiana family has a loved one who is currently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, it is only natural that family members may worry about their loved one's safety and well-being. After all, some situations result in family members never seeing a loved one again. It is understandable that such situations cause families (even those whose paperwork is in good standing) a lot of stress. A problem that remains ongoing at numerous immigration detention centers is suicide.  

A man who used to be in detention recently told of a day when he returned to his cell only to find one of his four other cellmates hanging from a pile of twisted bed sheets. The man's life was saved when detention guards cut the sheets loose before it was too late. This man's suicide attempt is reportedly not an isolated event.  

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