Many immigrants leave their native country to find work in Pennsylvania and other areas in the U.S. but are quickly deported. According to a recent report, if those individuals return to the country illegally, they can be charged with a felony.

According to a representative of a nonprofit organization working with Latinos in Erie, the largest settlement in the area is comprised of mostly American citizens from Puerto Rico. In addition, a group of naturalized citizens, who originally arrived there from Mexico to work as migrants, and a few Cubans who sought political asylum reside in the Erie area.

In the years since 2011, 89 individuals have been arrested in the western part of Pennsylvania for re-entering the U.S. illegally. Fifty percent were transients passing through Pennsylvania. Erie County alone deported 34 criminally charged individuals, however, the apprehensions were made either at a bus station or on Interstate 90.

Some believe that the felony charge for re-entering the country is excessive. According to the report, only seven out of the 89 immigrants who were taken into custody committed crimes not related to immigration. One criminologist at a major university said that the law puts immigrants of all ages into a system of deportation and incarceration that is unjust, forgetting they may be a source of good in the community.

Those who are seeking to immigrate to the U.S. might face a number of barriers, including a confusing application, that can make the process difficult. Knowing what options are available may be essential, and a consultation with an attorney may be beneficial. An attorney may also represent a client at a removal hearing and offer guidance throughout proceedings.

Source: Trib Live, “Immigrants in Western Pennsylvania region typically transients“, Carl Prine, August 17, 2014