As an immigrant living in Atlanta who pays attention to the current political climate, you may worry about your immigrant status here in the U.S. No one could blame you for your concerns.

Law professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández spoke with CityLab about what is known as “crimmigration.” Learn more about the idea and how it impacts you as an immigrant, should you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

What it is

While usually, criminal law and immigration exist separate from each other, that has changed in recent years. With crimmigration, immigration and criminal law are essentially the same, where it is difficult to disentangle one from the other.

Diving deeper, there is evidence that legal activity related to immigration eventually paves the way to unjust legal prosecution. Something else compounding the issue is that more and more law enforcement officers use more force than necessary during the course of performing their jobs.

How effects reflect in the courtroom

Under crimmigration, if you, as an immigrant, are ever arrested, there is a bigger chance of deportation proceedings coming into play. Even worse, there are no guarantees that you do not end up in a detention center. One reason for such a harsh penalty is that detention centers serve as a major source of income for poor counties, private companies and county governments. Because such detention centers also create jobs for locals, it presents another reason for especially severe punishments against immigrants.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.