Recent news on New Year's weekend raids has caused a media frenzy. While the facts on these raids are still developing, there are certain things that you should know.
I. ICE is targeting people with final orders of deportation.
II. Targets are supposedly all people who are an enforcement priority. Enforcement priorities are:
- Gang members, terrorists, people with an “aggravated felony” conviction or regular felony conviction, and those apprehended at the border. If you have a class A misdemeanor or a felony conviction, even if it was expunged or “taken care of”, you should visit with an experienced immigration attorney to find out whether you have an “aggravated felony” that would put you in this category.
- People with a conviction for three or more misdemeanors (excluding traffic violations), or even one crime of domestic violence, DUI, drug trafficking, a sexual offense, firearm offense, drug trafficking, or served 90 days in custody. People who entered the US on or after 01/01/2014 also fit in this category.
- People with a final order of removal entered on or after 01/01/2014.
III. Some of those apprehended were participating and complying with an Order of Supervision and all check-in dates.
If you or a loved one fit the criteria above, then you need to be aware of how to protect yourself:
I. Know your rights
If you are in your home, you are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. This amendment and right applies to everyone on US soil, whether lawful in the US or not. You do not have to open your door unless ICE presents you with a warrant. Attached to this article is a sheet that you can push under the door or place against a window to communicate to ICE that you will not open your door unless they can show you a warrant. If you're at work, ask if you can leave. If they say yes, then you can go.
II. Don't volunteer information
You have rights under the Fifth Amendment. Make sure you, your spouse, and your children know not to speak to ICE officers unless they have a warrant. If they do not have a warrant and are asking questions through the door of your home or at work, you do not have to answer. If they have a warrant or if you are in custody, then do not volunteer information. Answer only the question asked. If they ask, “What year did you come to the United States?” you will answer with a year only. Interactions with federal agents are not the time to give your life history.
III. Don't panic
Panicking will only make a bad situation worse. If ICE does have a warrant for your arrest, then take a deep breath. They have a right to take you into custody. This doesn't necessarily mean that you will be immediately deported. You might be eligible to be released with a bond or released immediately upon your own recognizance. The amount of your bond will be higher if you resist arrest. Cooperate with ICE. Be respectful. Be truthful. It increases the chance that your bond will be a reasonable amount or that you will be released without having to pay one.
I have a DUI or a domestic violence offense. What can I do so ICE doesn't target me?
You can make an appointment to talk to one of our attorneys and discuss post conviction relief, expungement (in some cases) or other remedies. Note that these might take time to accomplish. Sometimes there is little one can do. Gather any records you may have and call our office for a consultation.
If you or someone you know is arrested by ICE what can I do?
Call our office. Sometimes even if you are an enforcement priority, there are things you can do to eventually get out of custody, or even apply for a benefit. Our office is ready to act fast for all of our detained clients. Sometimes even telling our clients what can or cannot be done is a great comfort. Other times, our clients are surprised at the success we can obtain for their case.
Here's a helpful card to slip under your door to an ICE agent if they come to your door without a warrant.