For years, illegal and undocumented immigration has been a point of contention in American politics. Many people have argued over the rights that undocumented immigrants should or should not have. In 2013, Connecticut passed what is known as the Trust Act, which elaborated on how and when local law enforcement officials can assist federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents when they request help completing deportations. Recently, Connecticut passed two new bills, each amending the Trust Act to provide further protections to undocumented immigrants. For immigrants who are facing criminal charges, it is important to understand how these changes to the law will affect their rights.
Exceptions for Civil Detainers at Forefront of Debate
A civil detainer is an order from immigration officials requesting local law enforcement to comply with ICE to detain an immigrant. Civil detainers are orders that have not been reviewed by a U.S. District Court judge or magistrate or a Connecticut Superior Court judge, meaning they carry no legal obligation for a law enforcement official to arrest someone. The Trust Act of 2013 prohibited law enforcement officials from arresting or detaining immigrants solely based on a civil detainer — with the exception of seven different situations. These situations included if the immigrant had been convicted of a felony, if they are subject to a final order of deportation, or if they present a risk to public safety.
Changes to the Act
The Trust Act of 2013 still prohibits local law enforcement from detaining immigrants on the basis of a civil detainer, but the exceptions to this rule are now narrowed down to three. For a law enforcement official to arrest or detain an undocumented immigrant, the immigrant must be on a federal terrorist watch list, be convicted of a major felony, or have a judicial order against them. In addition, the bills also limit law enforcement from disclosing an immigrant’s confidential information to ICE in certain situations, and law enforcement officials are required to inform immigrants when ICE has requested their detention.
A Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney May Be the Key
While these bills would not require a judicial order for detention in all cases, they greatly increase the protections that are given to undocumented immigrants. Still, if an immigrant is convicted of a felony, they could face civil detention and deportation by ICE. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we have extensive experience defending clients against all types of felony charges. If you are an undocumented immigrant facing criminal charges, do not delay — get in touch with our skilled Hartford, CT criminal defense lawyer today. Call our office at [[phone]] to schedule a free consultation.