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How to Avoid Mandatory Detention if You’re an Immigrant With Criminal History

Under INA § 236(c), 8 USC § 1226(c), noncitizens who have certain criminal records are subject to mandatory immigration detention. Immigrants with criminal records do not have the right to a bond hearing and will instead remain detained during their entire immigration case, which can take weeks, months, or even years. This applies to undocumented people, permanent residents who may be removable, and people with other forms of lawful status.

In general, immigrants are subject to mandatory detention if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • They were admitted into the United States in any status, and now are deportable for certain crimes. Domestic violence and firearms grounds do not apply, and a single moral turpitude conviction must have a one year sentence imposed, not a potential year.
  • They were not admitted to the United States and now are inadmissible for certain crimes.
  • They were arrested by ICE directly from criminal custody and for an offense that subjects them to mandatory detention.

What Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?

When it comes to defending an immigrant with a criminal record, lawyers generally want to seek a disposition that avoids making the person removable and does not destroy their eligibility to apply for immigration relief. A strong defense is based on avoiding inadmissibility and deportability. Because the issues in these cases can be very complex, it is wise to seek advice from a legal professional.

There are two basic ways to avoid mandatory detention:

  • Plead to an offense that won’t trigger mandatory detention
  • Trying not to be placed into ICE custody from jail, if jail was based on a triggering offense

What Should I Do If I’m Detained?

Unfortunately, if you are subject to mandatory detention, you have a low chance of winning your case, even with the legal arguments we discussed above. In some cases, ICE might allege that a person is subject to mandatory detention at the initial ICE arrest or later in front of the immigration judge. If you want to push back on ICE’s assessment, you will need an attorney who has knowledge of mandatory detention rules and is capable of advocating for your rights.

Hire Experienced Legal Council

Having a skilled attorney by your side can make the difference between remaining here safely or being deported. At the Coimbra Law Firm, our legal team has a decade of criminal defense experience, as well as the resources you need to fight back against the government. Attorney Coimbra also has a background in immigration law, which gives him a unique skillset to take on both criminal and immigration courts.

If you are facing mandatory deportation, please contact our West Covina criminal defense attorney to request a free consultation today.