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Immigration rules appear to be applied unevenly under new policy

Enforcement of various immigration laws has perhaps always been seen as somewhat haphazard by many residents of North Carolina. Unfortunately, that perception may only worsen as authorities tasked with enforcement are left wondering how to apply new immigration procedures recently put in place by the Obama administration.

Under the new policy unveiled in June, authorities are supposed to take into account more than two dozen factors in deciding whether to dismiss a deportation.

Primarily, what the new policy is meant to do is prevent people with strong ties to the United States and those who have no criminal record from being deported. That includes those who were brought here illegally as children, along with soldiers, and the elderly. However, many have complained that there hasn't been a clear policy set forth nor has there been any consistent application of the policy.

For example, one person who was set to be married to his girlfriend of three years was arrested by immigration officials just eight days before the wedding. The man had no criminal record and had paid all his taxes, but he was nonetheless deported back to Uruguay.

On the other side of the issue, a 24-year-old student who came to the U.S. when he was ten from Germany remained in the country without documents. He is currently attending a private university in Ohio and recently had his deportation dismissed. Both would seem to fit the government's definition of allowing illegal immigrants with strong ties and no criminal record to stay in the country, but only one was allowed to stay.

When officials do not apply immigration procedures in a consistent manner it becomes more difficult for individuals and immigrant advocate groups to adjust their behavior accordingly. With nearly 400,000 immigrants deported in each of the last three years, it is quite clear that the government will not hesitate to enforce immigration laws even if those laws are applied unevenly.

Those in North Carolina facing deportation or dealing with other immigration issues may wish to consult with an attorney experienced in these types of cases.

Source: BlueRidgeNow, "Deportations Under New U.S. Policy Are Inconsistent," Julia Preston, Nov. 13, 2011

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