PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Immigration reform is still a hot topic for many Americans, which led us to questions about who is targeted by ICE agents, and why.
We took those questions to Shawn Neudauer who works in public affairs for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office:
"In short, ICE officers conduct targeted enforcement, meaning they are looking for specific people. However, like any law enforcement, they often encounter others while looking for those specific people. If these collateral encounters include individuals who are criminal aliens or even someone without a criminal record, but who is violating immigration law, those encounters can lead to an arrest and charges. Illegally entering the US or overstaying a legal visit is a violation of US law, and ICE is charged with enforcing those laws. While our officers do make criminal aliens a priority, they will not ignore other immigration violators, particularly those who have signed deportation orders from an immigration court. The President and Secretary of Homeland Security have made it abundantly clear that no classes of aliens are exempt from U.S. laws, and that any alien convicted, charged or who has previously admitted to a crime but was never charged, is subject to removal proceedings."
Applying for legal citizenship can be quite a confusing and difficult process, according to the Executive Director of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Sue Roche. Roche explains that if an application for asylum isn't filled out within the first year of living in the United States, the process becomes a lot more complicated and costly.