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Increase in immigration enforcement highlights immigrants' need to understand rights

Austin residents have all probably heard by now of the increase in immigration arrests that occurred over this last weekend. Commentators have pointed out that it isn't entirely clear yet whether the step-up in enforcement was routine or whether it marks the beginning of a new regime in terms of immigration law enforcement.

The line from Immigration and Customs Enforcement is that the agency carefully targets where it focuses enforcement efforts, and that it focuses especially on criminal aliens and those in violation of immigration law. Immigrant advocates, however, argue that the changes that are occurring are not routine. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under Barack Obama, reportedly deported over 240,000 last year, but the agency took a decidedly more relaxed approach to enforcing immigration laws. 

Those who are targeted by immigration enforcement efforts need to understand that they have rights and to work with an experienced attorney to protect these rights. These rights apply not only to the conditions of detention and confinement, but also the process used to enforce the law. Immigrants have a right to fair hearing in court. In some cases, constitutional issues can arise, including those related to unreasonable searches and seizures, due process, equal protection, and freedom from discrimination.

Then there is also the process of pursuing citizenship. Immigrants need to understand this process and have a strong advocate at their side to ensure they are treated fairly by the system. In future posts on this blog, we'll take a further look at some of these rights and how an experienced immigration attorney can help. 

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