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Record Number of Immigrants Deported Due To Criminal Records

It was reported this week that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported nearly 400,000 immigrants during the fiscal year 2011 that just ended in September.

ICE said about 55 percent of the 396,906 individuals deported had felony or misdemeanor convictions.

Officials said the number of individuals convicted of crimes was up 89 percent from 2008.

For purposes of immigration, it does not matter whether an individual is adjudicated guilty (convicted) or if adjudication is withheld. ICE considers any criminal plea to be a conviction.

Among those deported were more than 1,000 people convicted of murder. Another 5,800 were sex offenders, and about 80,000 people convicted of drug related crimes or driving under the influence (DUI).

In nearly every state, DUI is a misdemeanor. However, ICE does not care. If you are not a U.S. citizen and you accept a guilty or no contest plea to DUI, or are convicted at trial of DUI, you can be deported.

Authorities say two-thirds of those deported either recently crossed the border or had done so repeatedly.

If you have been charged with a crime and you are not a U.S. citizen, understand that you may face immigration consequences if you are convicted at trial or you enter a plea of guilty or no contest.

Furthermore, if you are arrested and you are not a U.S. citizen, you may face an immigration hold, and will remain in custody despite your bond status.

While you should consult with a criminal defense attorney if charged with a crime, you may also want to discuss the matter with an immigration attorney. In these days, criminal law and immigration law tend to overlap. If you are not a citizen, you face criminal punishment, as well as the risk of deportation.

Eric Matheny represents clients charged with criminal offenses in Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.