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Can a broken tail light land you in a Texas detainment center?

The United States is a nation of immigrants. A brief review of industrial revolution history shows the significant role immigrants played in the building of a new, powerful and progressive society and business world. Life was seldom easy for those crossing the nation's borders from abroad. Prejudices between ethnicities and conflict among the social classes added to daily burdens of trying to put food on the table and survive.

Today's immigrants (many of whom are direct descendants of those from long ago) also face much controversy and challenge as they build lives, establish careers and contribute to local and global economies. Many live in fear of detainment, whether documented or undocumented. 

Are you at risk?

U.S. immigration laws and regulations are often quite vague. For instance, it is difficult to determine any specific standard for whom deportation may be a plausible action. The following facts further illustrate this point:

  • Many people have faced threat of deportation after police pulled them over for minor traffic or vehicle violations, even single mothers with multiple children.
  • The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency says at least 85 percent of all immigrants currently being held in detainment are considered top priorities for possible deportation.
  • The Department of Homeland Security says the government automatically places on high-priority lists for potential deportation any non-citizens who entered the country after 2014 who pose public safety risks.
  • Whether documented or undocumented doesn't seems to matter in many situations involving immigrants charged with some type of criminal activity.
  • Those who are free, released after serving their sentences, or currently incarcerated may or may not be deportable.

In light of these facts it's easy to understand why many immigrants grow nervous at the sight of a uniformed police officer or government agent. They know arrest or deportation has separated others' families, with wives and children left destitute without immediate means to earn sustainable income, and they worry similar circumstances may happen to them if they're not careful. If language is a barrier, it may be even more difficult to navigate a particular immigration situation, especially where threat of deportation is an issue.

In Texas and beyond, there are support networks available to connect immigrants to other resources in order to seek legal clarification and assistance. It always helps to surround oneself with others who understand the plight. For most, talking with experienced immigration advocates is a good place to start.

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