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Trump administration imposing up to $500K fines on illegal immigrants who defy deportation orders

'Do they really think that she's going to pay this?'

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Illegal immigrants have begun receiving notices from the Trump administration that they are facing a massive fine for refusing to comply with deportation orders, according to NPR.

According to one letter received by Edith Espinal Moreno late last month, the fines are as high as $499,777. Recipients of the notice are still subject to their deportation orders, although they have 30 days to contest if they choose.

"ICE is committed to using various enforcement methods — including arrest, detention, technological monitoring and financial penalties — to enforce U.S. immigration law and maintain the integrity of legal orders issued by judges," ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke said, according to NPR.

Espinal told NPR she believed the letter was just a scare tactic. She has been taking sanctuary in an Ohio church for about two years. She was originally supposed to be deported on Oct. 10, 2017. The letter she received says that she cut and removed her GPS tracking device from ICE in February 2018.

Espinal's attorney said the fine was laughable.

"It's almost half a million dollars. Are they for real? Do they really think that she's going to pay this?" attorney Lizbeth Mateo said. "I laughed, because there has to be someone in some basement in D.C. thinking, 'Oh, what else can I do to mess with immigrants? What else can I do to hurt them?'"

Pro-immigration advocates have reported similar fine notices being received in different areas of the country. ICE reported that they began sending them out on a case-by-case basis in December 2018.

The Trump administration is planning a series of nationwide raids to detain illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported. The raids are set to begin after the July 4 holiday after President Donald Trump agreed to delay them so Congress could work on reforming asylum laws.

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