Four people charged during the weekend under Alabama’s new immigration law pleaded guilty Monday in Decatur Municipal Court.
The four would have been released after pleading to willful failure to procure alien registration documents, a Class C misdemeanor under Section 10 of the law, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had placed holds on them earlier Monday.
Each agreed to a fine of $100, $196 in court costs, and a 30-day suspended sentence with 12 months of probation.
It was unclear whether anyone at the arraignment was aware ICE had already placed detainers on the defendants.
“I wasn’t aware of an ICE hold. I had no idea if they were going to be detained by ICE at the time,” said City Prosecutor Emily Prater. “… I rarely deal with ICE unless they contact me directly about a particular charge on somebody.”
Paula Soto Navarro, 29, expressed to the judge, through a translator, that she was eager to get the case over with and get out of jail.
Judge Bill Cook told Navarro there would be a mandatory call to federal authorities before anyone could be processed out of the jail.
“I don’t know what position the federal government will take,” Cook said.
Navarro and Rubi Alejandra Vazquez, 22, were arraigned during the same hearing. Alexis Oscar Lopez, 22, and Juan Zetino Lorenzo, 19, were arraigned earlier in the afternoon, according to attorney Christy Miller, who represented all four.
“I understand this is difficult,” Cook told Vazquez. “This is the law of the state of Alabama. The federal courts are reviewing this, but until such time as we have further instruction, this is the law.”