Even a first DUI can have serious legal consequences — particularly if other drivers or passengers are injured as a result. However, for undocumented immigrants, one DUI could potentially lead to deportation under the Trump administration.
In a recent interview, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly discussed the administration’s plans to deport people for criminal offenses that the Obama administration didn’t consider serious enough to refer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation proceedings.
Secretary Kelly specifically gave the example of DUIs. He said that multiple DUIs and “[e]ven a single DUI, depending on other aspects, would get you into the system.”
Under President Obama, DUIs were considered a level 2 of 3 civil immigration enforcement priority. He also directed ICE agents to consider factors like whether a person was a member of the military, had American-citizen children and how young they were when they came to the country in making deportation decisions.
However, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently said in a visit to the Mexican border, “This is a new era….”This is the Trump era.”
It should be noted that Georgia is not one of the 12 states (along with Washington, D.C.) that currently allows undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Of course, not having a valid driver’s license doesn’t prevent you from being charged with a DUI. It only compounds the problem.
Anyone facing a DUI charge, even if it’s a first offense, should take the matter seriously. Experienced Georgia defense attorneys can help you fight unwarranted charges and protect your rights if the charges are valid.
Source: ThinkProgress, “DHS Secretary John Kelly: A single DUI could lead to deportation proceedings,” Esther Yu Hsi Lee, April 16, 2017