WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI – As of now, a person’s immigration status does not matter to the Washtenaw County criminal justice system.
Washtenaw County District Attorney Eli Savit announced Wednesday, Feb. 24 that his office would not coordinate with federal immigration law enforcement efforts, nor would he report uninvited civilians. -Citizens, survivors of crime, witnesses or defendants at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), issuing a new policy directive. on how his office will deal with cases where a person’s immigration status is previously in question.
“Today’s policy direction, fundamentally, aims to build confidence in our immigrant communities,” Savit wrote in an announcement. “We know that fear of working with federal law enforcement makes non-citizens less likely to report serious crime. It makes us all less secure.
The policy also advises deputy prosecutors to avoid case outcomes that will negatively affect an accused’s immigration status and instead consider alternative arrangements for lower-level charges.
In addition, the new policy prioritizes the issuance of special “T visas” for non-nationals who are victims of human trafficking and “U visas” for non-nationals who affirmatively contribute to force investigations. of the order.
“We will do everything in our power to protect non-nationals – mainly victims of trafficking – who pass through our system,” Savit wrote. “This is why we are drawing a line in the sand and not cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement efforts. This is also why we are prioritizing the issuance of special visas for non-national survivors of crime. “
The policy update, which is 75 pages in its entirety, includes the Attorney’s Guide to Fair and Appropriate Policies and Practices for Non-Citizen Defendants and Victims created by the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, a resource center laws for Michigan immigrant communities.
In announcing the policy change, Savit highlighted several Michigan criminal cases where individuals have been deported for minor offenses, including the case of Jimmy Aldaoud.
Aldaoud, a 41-year-old diabetic man and refugee from Detroit, was deported to Iraq in 2019, dying two months later after being unable to obtain insulin in Baghdad.
Savit, who was elected in 2020, released a variety of new policy changes within the prosecutor’s office, including ending the cash bond and rescinding zero tolerance policies.
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Legal experts interviewed about the wave of policy changes concluded that the changes did fall within the prosecutor’s right to exercise discretion.
To read the full immigration policy, click here.
To view all of Savit’s policy guidelines, click here.
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