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ICE will not file immigration case against undocumented activist

Greensboro residents may be interested to hear that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not pursue a case against a journalist and immigration activist after police arrested him last week. He was on his way to deliver a lecture at Carleton College when an officer on patrol noticed that he was driving while wearing headphones. The officer pulled him over and took him into custody when the law enforcement database showed that the man's license had been revoked.

He will have to appear in court next week to answer charges of driving without a license. But immigration officials declared they will not detain him or file immigration charges against him even though he admitted to the public that he is an undocumented immigrant. He made that revelation last year in a piece that appeared in The New York Times Magazine.

ICE's decision in this case is consistent with its stated policy, which we have mentioned previously on our North Carolina immigration blog, to avoid prosecuting cases where an immigrant is not a public safety risk. The journalist's misdemeanor traffic-related offense places him squarely in that category.

Instead, ICE is devoting its resources to pursuing cases where immigrants are alleged to have illegally crossed the border recently, have returned to the country after being previously deported, have committed an egregious violation of immigration law or have been deemed a threat to public safety.

As we have noted before, however, ICE policy is not set in stone. Immigrants should know what their legal rights and options are to seek designations that will allow them to remain in the country.

Source: The New York Times, "No Immigration Charges Filed Against Activist in Traffic Stop," Julia Preston, Oct. 8, 2012

• Achieving one's immigration goals can require overcoming many challenges. You can learn more by visiting our North Carolina family-based immigration page.

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