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In Asheville, 100 march to show support for immigrants

Nearly 100 North Carolina protestors recently took to the streets of Asheville to protest a raid conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. The protest, held on Dec. 18, was organized to support 12 employees of a local restaurant who were rounded up in the immigration raid, as well as to protest what demonstrators see as an outdated and impractical immigration law regime.

Nine of the 12 are currently out on bail and the remaining three continue to be held at a deportation center in Georgia.

Under the stated policy of the Obama administration, immigration enforcement officials are supposed to focus only on those undocumented immigrants who have engaged in criminal behavior or otherwise pose threats to the public. Yet, on Dec. 1, ICE conducted a raid on Shogun Buffet and took into custody many people who have no previous criminal record. At least one of those people rounded up had been brought to the U.S. as a minor, and many others have established families here.

Unfortunately, the incident merely highlights the haphazard enforcement of immigration laws. Undocumented immigrants who have otherwise fully complied with U.S. laws and regulations are finding themselves forcibly removed from their friends and family. In this case, the raid even took place while the 12 were working in the restaurant.

It may be possible, though, for them to fight the deportation and removal proceedings. Their case has been transferred to the North Carolina Office of the U.S. Attorney in Charlotte, and the prosecutor may have discretion in whether or not to push for deportation. In deciding this, the prosecutor may weigh many factors including whether the person was brought here as a minor and if they have established roots here. In order to tip the balance in their favor, the 12 employees who were rounded up may benefit from the assistance of an immigration attorney. Indeed, the presentation of a strong defense may be crucial in securing their freedom from an arbitrary and capricious deportation trial.

Source: The Citizen Times News, "Asheville marchers decry immigration raid," Sabian Warren, Dec.18, 2011

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