What are sanctuary cities?

Sanctuary Cities are places in the United States and Canada that follow certain practices that protect illegal immigration. These protections can be authorized by law or by practice.

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Criminal Convictions and Immigration Consequences

For people charged with criminal offenses who are not United States citizens, a criminal defense lawyer may be your best hope of avoiding immigration consequences. With the assistance of a top criminal defense lawyer, an individual who is not a United States Citizen might not have to flee to a sanctuary city.

The idea of a sanctuary city has been in the news lately because of the death of Kathryn Steinle, who was allegedly shot by an illegal immigrant, Franciso Sanchez. This happened in San Francisco, California. On March 26, Mr. Sanchez was booked into the San Francisco County Jail on a local drug charge after serving a federal prison term. The next day, the charges were dismissed. After officials confirmed that Sanchez had completed a prior federal prison term and had no active warrants, he was released. He was released despite a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that he remain in custody.

San Francisco has an ordinance that deemed Mr. Sanchez ineligible for extended detention after the local charges were dismissed. The immigration hold is considered a request and not a legal basis to hold someone.

San Francisco’s mayor is quoted as having said, “San Francisco’s Sanctuary City Policy protects residents regardless of immigration status and is not intended to protect repeat, serious and violent offenders.”

According to records, Michigan has two sanctuary cities – Detroit and Ann Arbor.

What is the advantage of going to a sanctuary city if someone doesn’t have lawful status in the United States?

Individuals without lawful status in the United States may choose to go to a sanctuary city because these cities often have policies that limit local law enforcement’s involvement in federal immigration enforcement. Sanctuary cities typically do not allow their police to inquire about an individual’s immigration status or detain individuals solely based on immigration status. These policies can create a sense of relative safety for undocumented individuals, as they may be less likely to face immigration enforcement actions like detention or deportation in their daily interactions with local authorities. However, it’s important to note that this does not provide legal immigration status or protection from federal immigration authorities.

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If a warrant is issued for the arrest of someone for a crime, can they avoid arrest by going to a sanctuary city?

Going to a sanctuary city will not protect someone from arrest if a warrant is issued for their arrest for a crime. Sanctuary city policies generally relate to limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, not to criminal warrants issued by local, state, or federal authorities. Law enforcement in sanctuary cities still has the obligation to enforce criminal laws and warrants. Therefore, an individual with an active arrest warrant can still be apprehended in a sanctuary city.

Why might someone who is not a lawful resident of the United States want to work with a top criminal defense attorney?

An individual who is not a lawful resident of the United States might seek a top criminal defense attorney because any criminal charge can have significant implications on their immigration status. A skilled attorney can provide a robust defense against criminal charges and understand the complex interplay between criminal and immigration law. They can work to minimize the impact of criminal issues on one’s immigration status and help navigate the legal challenges that non-residents face in the criminal justice system.

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Sanctuary Cities and Immigration Issues Require Lawyers That Have Experience Dealing With I.C.E. and Homeland Security

You would expect that some regions of the United States would be more welcoming of immigrants than others, especially undocumented and illegal immigrants, by creating Sanctuary Cities. With the 2016 Presidential campaign already heating up, immigration is a hot-button issue and will likely stay that way. Immigration will be at the forefront of the minds of law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges. No one wants a repeat of what happened in San Francisco. If you face any criminal trouble and are not an American citizen, you must have the best, affordable attorney available. The best attorneys will specialize in criminal defense and be extremely effective regarding immigration issues. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have spent their entire careers fighting to protect those facing criminal charges. Immigration problems can happen even as a result of minor criminal matters. Therefore, it is essential that you seek experienced legal help, no matter what the charge is, to protect you against the legal consequences of your situation and, if necessary, get help with potential immigration consequences.  

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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