If you are an immigrant living in Michigan, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the U.S. legal system. Are you familiar with the term “crimmigration”?

CityLab spoke with law professor César García Hernández to break down the intersection between immigration policy and criminal law. Understand how law enforcement can prioritize immigrant incarceration.

The basics

Digging into the basis of crimmigration, the main idea behind the concept is how criminal law and immigration have not only combined, but have also become nearly indistinguishable from each other. It has not always been this way.

Taking the idea a step further, there is evidence that more and more crimes have a connection to immigration issues. Also, there is more migration activity that has the potential to result in prosecutions.

The legal impact

Say that you find yourself in trouble with law enforcement. Under crimmigration, there is an increased chance that you will face deportation. Rather than remaining in jail while your case is ongoing, the possibility exists that you may wind up in a detention center. Rather than justice, such privately run centers are often more concerned with turning a profit.

The financial impact

Privately operated detention centers are not the only entities that stand to make a profit from immigrants behind bars. For instance, county governments that have their own jails and prisons stand to make money from immigrant prisoners. These jails and prisons often become a source of employment for citizens living in poor counties.

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