Imagine that immigration officers are knocking at your door. Do you know what to do? Unfortunately, for some people in our community, the possibility of being arrested and facing deportation is a constant reality. At SABEResPODER, we believe it’s important to be informed and be prepared for these types of situations. Read this guide below and get informed about what to do if you (or someone you know) is detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
You Have Rights
The U.S. Constitution protects all people living in United States, regardless of their immigration status. Therefore, it’s important to remember that if by any chance you are in an immigration raid (whether in your neighborhood, at your workplace or on the street), you have the right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. By law, both ICE agents and police officers have an obligation to accept those rights.
Fortunately, there are pro-immigrant organizations, such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), that can help you get access to a licensed attorney to represent you.
Don’t Open The Door
If ICE agents knock on your door, you’re not obliged to open the door for them unless they have a court order signed by a judge. If they in fact do have a court order, ask them to slip it under the door or show it to you through a window where you can see it. If your name and address are not spelled correctly—or if the order isn’t signed by a judge—officers can’t legally enter your home. It’s that simple!
If you decide to exercise your right to remain silent, tell the officers out loud and stand firm in your decision. Remember, you have the right to not answer their questions, sign any documents, or provide any personal documents until you have access to an attorney you trust.
Get A Lawyer
If you already have an attorney, get in contact with them right away. If you don’t have one, you have the right to ask the agents to provide you with trusted legal representation through a pro-immigrant organization, such as the AILA we previously mentioned.
You also have the right to speak to your home country’s consulate; they’re legally bound to assist you in finding a reliable lawyer.
If You’re Detained Outside Your Home
Immigration raids at workplaces and public spaces are occurring more frequently than ever before. If this happens to you, please stay calm and don’t run away.
If agents ask for people to form groups according to their immigration status, you don’t have to follow their orders. You can move to an area that is not designated for any specific group.
However, this could trigger an attempt from the officers to interrogate you. If you are questioned, remember your rights:
- You can exercise your right to remain silent.
- You are not required by law to sign any documents.
- You have the right to refuse to show your identification or documents indicating your country of origin until you have access to a lawyer.
What to Do If You Are Taken to An ICE Facility
If you are taken to an ICE facility, ICE officers will file your paperwork (a process that usually takes more than five hours) and assign you a space in the detention center. Ask your attorney to file a motion to reopen your deportation case before a final decision is made. This can give you more time and delay a possible deportation.
What If You’re Deported?
When all of your legal alternatives have been exhausted, ICE will begin to process the paperwork to legally remove you from the United States. The process of deportation from the U.S. can vary depending on the city you are in and your home country, as it may take a little time to get the required documents needed. In general, this process can take anywhere between 3 to 6 months.
It is important to know that if you are deported, there is a possibility to request readmission to the U.S. and reunite with your loved ones again.
Share This Information
While we hope that you never experience an immigration raid or undergo deportation process, it’s a serious situation that you may face. We encourage you to share this information with your family, friends, and neighbors, and educate them about their rights. It’s important to be prepared for any circumstance and act accordingly. Stay informed and continue pursuing the American dream!