The federal government has stated that immigrants who have been convicted of violent crimes are targeted for deportation. However, Louisiana immigrants and their families may want to be aware that those who are charged with misdemeanors also seem to be at risk for immigration detention. A situation that recently unfolded in another state is evidence of this.
An undocumented immigrant had been living and working in the United States for the past 15 years. He was recently accused of stealing a woman's purse. Authorities say that security guards found the woman's money in the man's pockets.
The man was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor but then was released by a judge who ordered him to come back to court at a certain date and time. However, the man never made it out of the courthouse because Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers took him into their custody. Immigrant advocates in the town where these events took place say that the city was supposedly designated as a sanctuary city.
Advocates issued public statements, saying that ICE's actions directly contradict the mayor's promise that local police will not cooperate with ICE officers to promote immigration detention. A spokesperson for the local police department denied any cooperation on the department's part, saying not only did it not assist ICE in this particular man's case, it has no intention on getting involved in any enforcement of federal immigration law. Those in Louisiana currently trying to resolve immigration status problems can reach out for legal support at any time.