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Undocumented residents in custody over gang allegations

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Undocumented Maryland residents may be interested to learn that some immigrants are being taken into custody on unsubstantiated allegations of being involved in gang activity. This is despite President Obama's stated focus on those who were entering the country illegally in order to commit crimes over those who have lived in the country long-term while still abiding by the laws.

One California resident was visiting a friend's home when officers from the Los Angeles Police Department and agents from Homeland Security Investigations arrived to serve a warrant related to a gang-related robbery. The woman, who was undocumented but has documented children and grandchildren in the country, was taken into custody even though she was not connected in any way to the warrant. She was transferred into ICE custody where she has remained in detention since March.

In a 2014 memorandum, DHS was given prosecutorial discretion over certain immigration enforcement decisions. Priority 1 cases, or non-citizens who were suspected to be involved in gang-related activities or are suspected to be terrorists, can be deported without being convicted. A law student showed in a report that the threshold that determines whether or not an undocumented resident is a gang member is extremely subjective and likely useless.

When people are placed into immigration detention without being charged, an immigration attorney can often be of assistance especially if they are being targeted for deportation. The attorney may apply for release on bond to get them out of custody if they are not deemed a flight risk and have roots in the society.

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