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ICE conducts unexplained immigration raid in Asheville restaurant

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 December 18, was to support 12 employees of a local restaurant who were rounded up in the immigration raid. Nine of the 12 are currently out on bail, although the remaining three continue to be held at a regional ICE center.

Under the stated policy of the Obama administration, immigration enforcement is supposed to focus only on those undocumented immigrants who have engaged in criminal behavior or otherwise pose threats to the public. Yet, on December 1, ICE conducted a raid on Shogun Buffet and took into custody many people who have no previous criminal record. Many of the workers have families that they have established here.

Unfortunately, the incident merely highlights the haphazard enforcement of immigration laws. Undocumented immigrants who have otherwise fully complied with US 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 US 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: Asheville Citizen-Times, "Asheville marchers decry immigration raid," Sabian Warren, Dec. 18, 2011

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