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November Federal Immigration & North Carolina Criminal Justice Update


During November, several crucial cases that will have significant impacts on both immigration and criminal defense in North Carolina were argued. Below, we discuss them in greater detail:

Will U.S. Supreme Court End The DACA Program?

In November, the U.S. Supreme Court reportedly signaled support for President Trump’s proposal to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or “DACA”),  which protects more than 650,000 immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. The program has allowed those already here to hold work permits, and ending the program could lead to those who have been here their entire lives to be deported to countries that are completely unfamiliar to them.

The more liberal judges indicated that the policy does not satisfy the requirements of the law.  Specifically, these justices pointed out that the administration did not sufficiently weigh the concerns of businesses and other parties who have long relied on the program. Conversely, several of the more conservative judges questioned whether the courts have the authority to review the president’s actions in this area; even though the administration is effectively arguing that the previous presidential administration exceeded their constitutional powers in creating the program by executive action.

A decision is expected in June, and could come down to Chief Justice John Roberts, who has, thus far, indicated that he is satisfied with the administration’s provided rationale for the policy. While Roberts and the Court previously handed Trump a victory in upholding his travel ban blocking immigrants from a number of Muslin-majority countries, he also cast the decisive vote in ruling against the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census that would have deterred immigrants from being counted in the country’s total population statistics. Meanwhile, Trump maintains – via social media – that “many” DACA recipients are “hardened criminals” without providing any basis for that statement.

Lawsuit Over North Carolina’s Cash Bail Requirements

While a number of states such as New York are working to eliminate their cash bail systems in an effort to promote criminal justice reforms, counties in North Carolina still have onerous cash bail requirements. In November, a group of North Carolina jail inmates filed a lawsuit, arguing that North Carolina’s requirements violate inmates’ constitutional rights (due process, equal protection, and the right to counsel) by allowing only those who can pay bail to go home, regardless of the charges against them and in spite of being presumed innocent while awaiting trial.

According to research out of the University of North Carolina, one such county—Alamance; the focus of the lawsuit—required secured bonds in approximately 85 percent of all cases in 2018. The lawsuit seeks to do away with the county’s bail procedures, and if successful, could lead to a similar effect in the rest of North Carolina, transforming the criminal justice system.

Contact Our Immigration & Criminal Defense Attorneys If You Have Questions

Our North Carolina criminal attorneys focus on federal immigration law and local criminal defense, as well as the intersection of these two areas of the law. If you or a loved one has any questions or concerns about these legal issues, contact us today at the Hauter Law Firm, PC to find out how we can help.



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