The Trump Administration’s latest move to curb immigration involves assessing thousands of dollars in fines against some immigrants living in the U.S. who have no legal immigration status. The fines are against immigrants who are subject to a final deportation order, but who have failed to leave the country as ordered.
U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) officers are issuing letters to selected immigrants, alleging that they must pay almost $500,000 in fines to the federal government. According to ICE, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has the right to impose civil penalties on immigrants who are subject to a removal order or agreed to voluntary removal. The fines can continue to accrue at a rate of $500 per day.
The letters, which are entitled “Notice of Intention to Fine,” give the recipients of the letters 60 days in which to respond before ICE will make a final decision on whether to assess the fine. ICE stated that they are issuing the notices on a case-by-case basis, considering the efforts that the immigrants have made to comply with the orders. Many immigrants who currently are living in the sanctuary of churches, for example, received the notices, which went to immigrants in seven different states.
Historically, the federal government has not used these extraordinarily high fines as a mechanism to enforce immigration laws. Some believe that the Trump administration is using financial penalties as a means of stoking fear and confusion in immigrant communities and inducing the targeted immigrants to leave the country. This belief may be accurate, as the immigrants targeted have no money to pay such high fines.
The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. We intend to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.