Immigration Law

A new immigration policy was recently put into place to give the federal government more power. Under the policy, federal agents will have authority over local law enforcement officials regarding individuals who have been arrested for immigration offenses and who are awaiting deportation. The policy took effect on Feb. 25 and it was announced by the U.S. Attorney General.

One Year Ago: A Deadly Shooting

The policy was ushered in as a response to a deadly shooting that happened in San Francisco roughly a year ago. Immigration officials wanted to deport a man who had already been deported five times, but Bureau of Prison officials moved him from a prison in Victorville, California, to San Francisco instead, where he was released. The man then went to a San Francisco pier on July 2 and shot a 32-year-old woman.

The man who was San Francisco’s sheriff at the time of the shooting said he couldn't turn the man over to the immigration officials, as city laws prevented cooperation between the two groups. Under this new policy, federal officials could have detained the man, rather than allowing local police to release him, which could have prevented the shooting.

A new sheriff was recently elected in the city and she is waiting to see how officials will enforce this new policy.

Jurisdiction Changes

This policy creates notable changes to the way immigration laws can be enforced, so it's a significant legal development. It doesn't change many laws that are on the books -— the man was already wanted by federal officials -- but it can have a huge impact on what the authorities are allowed to do, how branches of law enforcement can work together, and how those accused of breaking immigration laws can be detained.

As with any new law or policy, it will be important to keep an eye on how this is used and enforced. It can change the rights of those who come to the United States from other countries, and they need to know how these rights are going to shift when it comes to deportation, detainment procedures, and the powers that are held by the government at city, state, and federal levels.