Being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or another law enforcement agency, can be one of the most terrifying experiences during a person’s life. An individual may feel powerless and frightened, and it is made worse by the fact that many times, for reasons of bureaucratic short-staffing, neglect, or simple xenophobia, detainees are not advised properly of their rights.
If you are detained, it is is absolutely imperative that you know your rights, especially if you have family who may soon be in the same position.
Arrested by ICE
If you are arrested or detained by immigration personnel, your rights are fairly clear-cut, based on statutory law and case precedent. The most important factors to remember are to not discuss your immigration status without an attorney present, and to not sign anything offered unless an attorney is present. While the majority of immigration officers are honorable, there are some who value expediency more than protocol, and it is not unheard of to force detainees to sign papers that concede their removability before they are even able to see a judge.
You are entitled to a phone call, but some numbers may be blocked, depending on the facility in which you are taken. You also may be transferred to another facility, but you may be able to post bond, depending on your reason for detention. However, be advised that Illinois, along with three other states, does not allow bail bondsmen to operate. You will instead have to deal directly with the court.
Keep in mind that you may be able to obtain a copy of your immigration file while in detention. You have a right to do so, though you may have to get it via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Arrested by Police
Additionally, your situation is very different if you are arrested by the police. In almost all jurisdictions, including Illinois, you must be charged with a crime within 48-72 hours (in most states, 48 hours is the limit, but some do have the longer limit). However, police may extend that longer if they file an immigration detainer. Detainers are forms sent from ICE to law enforcement agencies, asking them to hold someone for 48 hours longer than they would normally be permitted to do before that person is turned over to ICE.
The same advice applies with the police as it would with ICE: do not lie about your immigration status. If you lie to law enforcement officers, it may be used against you later. Lying can imply poor character—at least legally—and poor character is a main element in crimes of moral turpitude (CIMTs).
If you commit a CIMT within five years of your admission into the United States, or multiple CIMTs at any point (if they do not result from the same criminal scheme), you will be declared removable. Bond is also less likely to be available when you are in police custody, as opposed to ICE custody.
Make an Attorney Your One Phone Call
Immigration detention can be terrifying, and it can be the difference between freedom and deportation. However, the experienced Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have a long history of success, and we can put it to work for you. Call us today at 630-932-9100 to schedule a consultation.
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