People come from all over the world to begin a new life in the United States. Sometimes, the government decides certain people are “illegal,” or not present under lawful circumstances, and must be deported back to their home countries. There is a section of the Utah Criminal Code in Utah that deals specifically with immigration status and law enforcement. This law, designated as § 76-9-10, spells out numerous provisions regarding law enforcement, immigrants, and penalties such as deportation. It is important to remember that, even though a person may not be a legal U.S. citizen, they must still be afforded certain protections to prevent legal overreach by the government.
Immigration is a significant concern of the federal government. In order to enforce immigration laws, the federal government frequently relies on the cooperation of state and local governments. The Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act is a state law that mandates how state law enforcement interact with illegal immigration enforcement. If you are an immigrant being prosecuted under this Act, please contact Overson Law, PLLC, to speak with our Utah lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-10, The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free legal consultation.
What is The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act in Utah?
The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act under Utah Criminal Code § 76-9-10 provides a legal framework for law enforcement stopping and reporting immigrants with unlawful status. Basically, the Act permits law enforcement to demand proof of citizenship from anyone they lawfully stop. Someone who a Utah police officer arrests may be required to verify their immigration status or face legal consequences. If they cannot verify that they are legally in the United States, they may be turned over to immigration officials for deportation.
The Act has been criticized by many for seemingly allowing law enforcement to use methods like racial profiling to identify people they believe may be present in the U.S. unlawfully. However, all stops conducted by the police must be lawful and cannot solely be made based on factors such as race or ethnicity. Once someone is identified as an immigrant with unlawful status, they will be transported to a federal detention facility within the State of Utah.
The Act also has a section that pertains to the receipt of state and local public benefits. Before providing anyone with public benefits or assistance, all state and local agencies must request proof of citizenship or legal residency. Falsifying this information in order to receive public benefits will be considered a crime of public assistance fraud. Our Utah attorney for Criminal Code § 76-9-10, The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, can help you navigate the criminal justice process and help you avoid being deported.
Penalties for Violating the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act in Utah
The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act essentially allows the state and local police of Utah to question people suspected of being present unlawfully and jump-start deportation proceedings. It also sets up legal hurdles for immigrants who need public assistance. Perhaps the most significant penalty associated with this Act is the threat of deportation. Once the Utah police have verified your immigration status as unlawful, you will be handed over to federal immigration authorities for deportation proceedings.
The Act also imposes penalties for illegal immigrants who unlawfully obtain public benefits or assistance. The severity of your charges in such a case will depend on the amount of money you obtained. Obtaining an amount less than $500 will only be a class B misdemeanor. Obtaining an amount over $500 but less than $1,500 will be a class A misdemeanor. An amount in excess of $1,500 but less than $5,000 will be a third-degree felony. Finally, obtaining an amount of $5,000 or more will be charged as a second-degree felony. Our Utah lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-10, The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, can assess your charges and help you understand the penalties you may face.
Defenses to Violations of the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act in Utah
Under the Act, an officer may request verification of a person’s immigration status after lawfully stopping then. However, law enforcement must presume someone to be a legal United States citizen if they are able to show the officer certain forms of identification. If the officer believes the documents or identification shown are faked or false, the officer must have some reasonable suspicion to support that belief. The following documents may be presented to verify immigration status:
- A valid Utah driver’s license or ID card issued on or after January 1, 2010.
- A valid tribal enrollment card, or another form of tribal membership ID, that includes photo identification.
- Any other valid documents that include a photo or biometric information (height, weight, etc.) and is issued by federal, state or local government agencies that need proof of citizenship or legal residency before issuing the documents.
Under the Act, law enforcement in Utah is required to adhere to any and all federal laws regarding immigration regulation. They must also respect the civil rights and privileges of all persons they question. Our Utah attorney for Criminal Code § 76-9-10, The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, will make sure your rights are protected.
Contact Our Utah Defense Lawyer for The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act
If you or someone know has been stopped by the police in Utah and is now facing penalties under the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, please contact Overson Law, PLLC to speak with our Utah lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-10, The Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act. Our experienced legal team can defend your rights and fight the legality of your stop in a court of law. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free legal consultation.