The Trump administration has been making a lot of noise, and that noise is beginning to have real consequences to immigrants who are already in the United States. However, anyone who encounters an ICE agent is entitled to the due process of law, which, for most people, means that you cannot be removed unless an Immigration Judge orders you removed in Immigration Court — and Immigration Court offers many types of possible relief from deportation, including asylum or withholding of removal for LGBT immigrants who fear persecution in their home countries. However, we have been seeing more reports of ICE raids throughout the country, which brings us to our second point…
If you have any potential forms of immigration relief, now is the time to consider pursuing it. For instance, if you have a spouse or partner who is a U.S. citizen, you may want to explore the possibility of obtaining permanent resident through marriage. If you have fear of returning to your home country, you may want to explore the possibility of filing for asylum. If you have been the victim of a violent crime in the past, you may want to explore the possibility of filing for a U-visa. These processes can be much less stressful when you are working with USCIS, and not with the Immigration Court.
If you already have a final order of removal (an order directing your deportation), or suspect that you might have one, it is extremely important to speak to an immigration attorney who can advise you about your legal rights and options, if any, you might have to reopen your removal proceedings.
If you would like to discuss your immigration options with one of our attorneys, please contact us.
Know your rights
If you are undocumented, it is possible that an encounter with an ICE agent could lead to your detention. If you ever encounter an ICE agent, remember these three key items:
A. Do not answer any questions. You have the right to remain silent under our constitution. Simply tell the agent that you wish to speak to an attorney immediately.
B. Do not open your door. You do not need to open your door unless the ICE officer has a warrant signed by a judge. They almost never have such warrants. If they do have a warrant, ask them to slip it under the door.
C. Do not sign anything. In other words, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING, especially without your attorney reviewing it first.
D. Do not lie or give the agents false documents. This is not only a crime, but could later be used against you in court during your removal proceedings.
Make a plan for what would happen if you were detained
First, memorize the phone number of the person you would call first if you were detained. You won’t have your iPhone in detention!
Second, give your vital information to a trusted friend or family member in case someone needs to help you if you are detained. This information should include:
A. Your vital information (date of birth, A-number, copy of passport)
B. The names and numbers of anyone you would want to be notified or cared for in the event you were detained. For example, if you have children that will need to be picked up from school or elderly parents who would need care, you need to have a plan for who would help them if you were detained. You may want to also contact a family law attorney about establishing a power of attorney to care for your loved ones in your absence.
C. The name and number of your immigration attorney, if you have one.
D. A copy of an executed G-28 Notice of Appearance form, which will help your attorney communicate with ICE on your behalf. You can execute a blank copy if you might need to find an immigration attorney in the event of detention. This form is available here:
It is also important that you do not carry any false documents with you, as these could be used against you in criminal or immigration proceedings.
If you'd like to read more about your rights in an ICE encounter are many great resources available from public interest organizations for how to best manage ICE encounters: