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View Full Version : What Happens to Illegal Immigrants?



KansasWriter
08-23-2008, 03:13 AM
Hi all,

The character in my story was a student from China. Once his student visa was up he remained in the country and continued working illegally. He cut off all communication from his family and couldn't be found.

He's caught with a small amount of illegal drugs and the police quickly find out he's not in the country legally.

I has assumed he'd be on the first plane back to China but now I'm not so sure. Is there jail first? If he has money then would he have a chance to appeal? How long might this take?

Thanks,
KW

Horseshoes
08-23-2008, 04:12 AM
He's just not going to be on the next plane back. Deportation happens faster than it used to, but it still is not instant.
It is key to know whether or not the durg offense was felony or misdo. For ex, small amount of mj w/ no indication it's for distribution is misdo (just about everywhere in the US), small amount of heroin always felony. A felony drug charge is going to put your guy in the express lane for deportation. Are you sure yet of your scenario? Do you need it to go one way v the other? Set up circumstances can help you out, so what do you want to happen?

Mumut
08-23-2008, 02:37 PM
It depends on the country he is trying to enter. In Australia there can be prison sentences for trying to smuggle in drugs. We have TV programs on the subject. It's quite popular.

Robert Toy
08-23-2008, 03:03 PM
Hi all,

The character in my story was a student from China. Once his student visa was up he remained in the country and continued working illegally. He cut off all communication from his family and couldn't be found.

He's caught with a small amount of illegal drugs and the police quickly find out he's not in the country legally.

I has assumed he'd be on the first plane back to China but now I'm not so sure. Is there jail first? If he has money then would he have a chance to appeal? How long might this take?

Thanks,
KW
This scenario is also not likely to happen in an increasing number of U.S. cities. The drug possession yes, reporting his legal status and/or deportation is becoming less of a possibility.

The reason, some states have established sanctuary cities; the term generally applies to cities that do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws, usually by not allowing police or municipal employees to inquire about one's immigration status.

This has created something of a major pissing contest between the Feds and the states, more here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_cities

Puma
08-23-2008, 05:38 PM
Back in the 80's two of my co-workers had come to the US on student visas and then stayed to work - but weren't concerned about getting their green cards renewed. One, an engineer from Nigeria, was bodily escorted out of the office by federal marshalls and taken to a federal pen a state away - and then sent back to Nigeria; the other, a Canadian PhD, was given notice he would have to leave so there was actually time to try to prove that his capabilities couldn't easily be found in the job market. He voluntarily went back to Canada. There were no drugs or wrong-doings involved in either case - just overstays on visas. But that's back in the 80's when there weren't so many illegal immigrants in the country. Puma

Beach Bunny
08-23-2008, 05:56 PM
Hi all,

The character in my story was a student from China. Once his student visa was up he remained in the country and continued working illegally. He cut off all communication from his family and couldn't be found.

He's caught with a small amount of illegal drugs and the police quickly find out he's not in the country legally.

I has assumed he'd be on the first plane back to China but now I'm not so sure. Is there jail first? If he has money then would he have a chance to appeal? How long might this take?

Thanks,
KW
Since he is from China, he can ask for political asylum. I knew two people from Romania who did not have to go back or have a green card because they asked for political asylum. It was only recently (within the last eight years) that they had to get their immigration status straightened out.

Though, I am not sure if he has committed a crime whether he can ask for political asylum or not.

ETA: Here's the wiki article on asylum in the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asylum_in_the_United_States#Application_for_asylum _by_individuals_in_the_United_States

hammerklavier
08-23-2008, 06:38 PM
There would be no need for him to cut off all communication with his family unless he wanted to. In other words, calling his family wouldn't get him caught.

Tsu Dho Nimh
08-23-2008, 07:28 PM
In the USA, with illegal drugs, and an illegal alien ... he'll probably be in jail awaiting deportation. His lapsed visa will show up when they run his name, old passport, and fingerprints. (the database is much better).

And there is not much of a chance to appeal: you are told to go back to your native country, get things straightened out through the embassy there, and then return if you can do so legally.

You can't ask for asylum if you have a criminal record.

IceCreamEmpress
08-23-2008, 07:58 PM
This blog (http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ihrc/immigration/2007/04/immigrant_detention_and_human.html) has lots of helpful information about how the arrest, processing, trial, detention, and deportation of illegal immigrants works. It's a longish process.

FinbarReilly
08-23-2008, 10:09 PM
In California, he'd do his time in prision for the crime and then be deported. He could ask for asylum, but I'm not sure if it would be allowed considering...

FR

KansasWriter
08-24-2008, 12:56 AM
Thanks folks,

I might need to be clearer: someone had ripped off a pharmacy and stuffed a bag full of Valium, Codeine, and other such drugs. The bag was more or less planted in the character's home. His "enemy" then called the cops and told them the character had stolen the pills.

The enemy is not aware the character is in the country illegally.

I'll read those links thank you!

KW

j.s.cutler
08-24-2008, 07:12 AM
I worked as a criminal defense attorney for a couple years and had a handful of cases in which non-resident clients were busted for drugs.

Criminal laws vary by state of course, but where I was any sentence that had a period of incarceration or probation of a year or more would trigger notification to the feds and possible deportation/denial of re-entry, etc.

However in practice it was often up to the probation officers at the local courthouse. If they decided to be jerks and pick up the phone your client was in trouble. More often than not, though they took the path of least resistance and nothing every happened. (That's for client's on probation, if they end up in jail it's much different.)

There are also certain types of crimes that would trigger immigration consequences. They are called "crimes of moral turpitude", which includes nearly all drug related crimes, domestic violence, firearms, etc.

I guess in summary I'd say immigration law is murky. That means you can probably shape your plot however you want and still make it work.

best of luck

KansasWriter
08-25-2008, 01:55 AM
Hey J.S. I don't get something. When you're arrested, isn't quite a bit of information taken into public records? I mean, I don't know anything about this but wouldn't a person immediately be caught as illegal through a social security number?

And even if that wasn't the case, don't places care if someone is in the country illegally?

I never really though about all this. It just seems strange to arrest someone for one law, but then not bother prosecuting them (or deporting them) for violation of another.

KW

j.s.cutler
08-25-2008, 06:56 AM
Sounds logical, I agree. It just happens to not be the case.

I think the major disconnect is that criminal law is largely handled by the states, whereas immigration law is all federal. For the most part local courts don't want to get involved. I think that's why there a backlash in some parts of the country, but that's certainly a political hot potato.

Also when it comes to illegal immigrants they don't have social security numbers or they sometimes use false ones so there's no way to magically check the computer and get a definitive answer.