Minor needed an immigration-related criminal defense attorney

The jurisdictional overlap between employment, family, and immigration law is not always clear, as a recent story illustrates.

Specifically, a federal judge recently admonished federal immigration officials for their handling of a minor’s case. U.S. Border Patrol agents first detained the boy in Texas in December 2013. At that time, they classified the boy as an unaccompanied minor, which is a term used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to describe someone under the age of 18 who does not have a parent or legal guardian in the United States.

In this case, however, the boy’s mother is legally in the country. She arrived from Guatemala in 2005. Yet officials did not remand custody of the minor back to his mother. Instead, the 17-year-old boy has been in various federal detention centers for three years, ostensibly on the ground that federal officials questioned his mother’s ability to keep him safe.

The boy also has a criminal record, which may shed light on the officials’ motivation for keeping him in custody. The boy fell into trouble with a drug cartel in Rio Bravo, where he was arrested for theft and assault. For undocumented immigrants, an arrest might prompt fears of deportation. In this case, however, an immigration judge declined to deport the boy, and the immigration proceedings were terminated. Since the boy’s immigration status was no longer in question after that ruling, the federal judge characterized the official’s failure to release the boy as equivalent to child welfare custody.

Although federal law does provide for removal proceedings of undocumented minor immigrants, there are also special procedures in place because of a minor’s age. Our immigration law firm has helped hundreds of clients in Nashville and throughout Tennessee to obtain the documentation they need to live and work in the United States. If you have fears of deportation, we encourage you to consult with an experienced law firm, like our, to understand your rights.

Source: Washington Post, “Federal judge orders release of boy locked in immigration limbo for years,” Rachel Weiner and Ann E. Marimow, Nov. 22, 2016