Traffic Tickets and Immigration Status
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 (ICE) 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: Click Here
According to 2011 article in The Seattle Times, despite 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. So, there is some relief in sight for those immigrants fearing deportation for traffic tickets. However, while the change is being effectuated, there are hundreds of thousands of deportation cases pending in immigration court that must be reviewed on a case by case basis. Source: Click Here
Essentially as an immigrant without legal status if you receive a Washington State traffic ticket, you need to consult an attorney to protect you. The deportation laws with regard to traffic tickets are constantly changing.
Deportation is 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.
Also, police often arrest drivers they suspect of being undocumented. '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 the highway patrol.
The best way to prevent deportation is to keep Washington traffic tickets off your record in the first place. Attorney Nick George has helped many clients in similar situations to yours 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.