Traffic Tickets and Deportation
If you are an immigrant living and driving in Washington State, you should be aware that even a minor traffic ticket can have devastating consequences.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Data, "13,028 immigrants were deported in 2011 after being arrested on less serious traffic law violations, nearly three times the 4,527 traffic offenders deported two years earlier." (source: Fox News 07/22/2011)
According to 2011 article in The Seattle Times, in response to great protest by immigrant communities, the Obama administration changed its priorities to focus on deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals or pose a threat to national security or public safety, rather than traffic violators. Thus, there is some relief in sight for those immigrants fearing deportation for traffic tickets. However, while the change is being effectuated, there are approximately 300,000 deportation cases pending in immigration court that must be reviewed case by case. (source: seattletimes)
The bottom line is that if you are an immigrant without legal status and you receive a Washington State traffic ticket, you need to consult an attorney to fight to protect you. The deportation laws with regard to traffic tickets are ever changing. And just because this administration claims that it is going to stop deporting immigrant drivers for traffic tickets, we can't predict what policy the next administration will adopt.
Deportation can be a cruel process. Even if you succeed in your fight against INS, it may involve lengthy detention, separation from your family members, and other emotional trauma.
Further, police often arrest drivers they suspect of being illegal. "The rise in traffic offenders in the deportation statistics worries immigration advocates, particularly because traffic stops are largely made by police, sheriff's deputies and highway patrol. Local law enforcement has become more involved in immigration enforcement because of new programs that encourage it." Fox News, 2011.
The best way to prevent deportation is to keep Washington traffic tickets off your record in the first place. Attorney Michael D. Sheehan has helped many clients in this situation keep their driving record clean. If there are no new traffic tickets on your driving record, you have nothing to worry about. Further, you can fight a traffic ticket without fear of jail or being detained. Call Mr. Sheehan today and let him fight to keep your driving record clean.