Connecticut criminal defense lawyer for immigrationFor 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.

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Hartford gun crime defense attorneyFirearms have been a part of American history for as long as the United States has been a country. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically gives American people the right to own firearms, but with the invention of new weapon technologies, more laws are being enacted each year. Gun owners should be sure to understand how changing laws will affect them in order to avoid facing weapons charges.

The latest gun safety law was passed in both the Connecticut Senate and House of Representatives this past month. The bill, dubbed “Ethan’s Law,” was named in memory of Ethan Song, a 15-year-old Guilford boy who accidentally shot himself to death with a firearm that was easily accessible while at a friend’s house

Bill Calls for Gun Storage Changes

The biggest change to Connecticut’s firearm laws is the way that firearms must be stored. Prior to the passage of Ethan’s Law, the criminal liability a person had when a child accessed their firearms only applied if the firearm was loaded, and the child was able to gain access to the weapon. Under the new bill, a person must keep firearms in a securely locked box or in another secure manner if a minor under the age of 18 is likely to gain access to the firearm -- regardless of whether or not the firearm is loaded.

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