The issue of immigration and deportation has been in the news a lot lately, most recently with President Trump’s tweet about ICE raids. ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and it is an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. ICE was created by the U.S. government in 2003, partly in response to the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001. It is important to distinguish that ICE is separate from Customs and Border Protection, which is responsible for securing the United States’ borders with Canada and Mexico. The most recognized division of ICE is called the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). This department of the agency arrests, detains, and deports illegal immigrants who are already in the United States.
All ICE agents and deportation officers with ERO are expected to uphold U.S. immigration law at all times within, at, and beyond U.S. borders. The primary duties of ICE agents are to:
In addition, part of the immigration agents’ job is to interview people seeking entry into the United States. These encounters with ICE agents can sometimes be nerve-wracking for the immigrants, but the agents must follow specific protocol. It is also important to understand that immigrants also have the right to remain silent and have an attorney present before answering any further questions. In a lot of cases, people dealing with ICE are undocumented immigrants, people in the United States on a visa, or green cardholders.
For many people, ICE represents the White House’s aggressive immigration policies. President Trump tweeted recently that his administration would implement immigration raids in major U.S. cities, with the goal of deporting “millions of illegal aliens.” However, the ICE agency was not prepared to carry out raids due to limited resources, so the president postponed the operation. Many of the most important details of the raids remained unresolved, such as where to place the families and who was going to monitor them, etc. In addition, some city officials, such as Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, criticized the president's order and said Chicago remains a sanctuary city and would not comply with the raids.
The debate over immigration and deportation does not look like it is going to end anytime soon. With the current administration constantly changing policies and procedures, it can be a confusing time for people who want to or have already entered the United States legally. If you or a loved one are concerned about being deported, or you believe your rights may have been violated during an encounter with an ICE agent, you need a dedicated Illinois immigration attorney to help you understand the complicated legal process of immigration and deportation. Call our office today at 630-232-9700 to schedule a free consultation.
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