In recent days, several raids have taken place by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), more specifically by Enforcement & Removal Operations (ERO). These raids were aimed at rounding up any and all undocumented immigrants, which is a departure from the policy of the previous administration.
Since the scale of these recent raids has been larger than usual, it has led to many finding themselves without counsel or without information about the rights they have in the United States. If ERO appears at your door, you may be too flustered to speak up then and there.
Before and During the Raid
It is pivotal to be prepared before any adverse event happens, by carrying the right information and by having steps in place in case the worst occurs.
Identification such as a driver’s license is a good item to have on you at all times. This form of documentation provides the information that you are required to give to law enforcement (your name and birthdate, in most states) without any identifying marker regarding your country of origin. Also, it can be helpful to ensure that your family has access to your relevant information and the contact information of an immigration advocate or group that you trust.
During a raid, when ERO is knocking on your door, there are two critical facts of which to be aware. The first is that you do have a right to remain silent, and you are entitled to use it in such moments. The second is that any ERO or ICE personnel are not entitled to enter your home unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. This is different than an administrative removal warrant, which is most often signed by one of the case officer’s superiors.
Some unethical ERO personnel have been known to pretend the administrative warrant they hold is of the other type, however, so if you are told that the officer has a warrant, asking for it to be placed in the mail slot or under the door is a better idea than opening the door—if you open your door even a crack, it can be taken as implicit consent to search your home, though they have no legal basis to do so.
After the Raid – In Custody
If you are taken into custody after a raid on your home, the single most important fact to remember is to not sign anything, regardless of the coercion or pressure applied to you. It is not uncommon for ICE agents to promise deportation relief or other similar statuses in return for a signed statement. However, this is generally not within their power to do.
During the period of problems occasioned by the recent executive order, multiple people in detention were pressured by Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) into signing I-407 forms, which abandon all claim to status in the United States. Do not, under any circumstances, sign something of this nature. Also, do not sign something you cannot read or understand, regardless of what may be promised to you.
You have rights while in custody, regardless of your status—you are entitled to an attorney (though you will likely have to hire your own; the government is not obligated to provide you one, unlike in criminal trials. You are entitled to make a phone call (to obtain one, or to provide your family with news of your whereabouts, or for some other constructive purpose). You are also, aside from in rare circumstances, entitled to a hearing in front of an immigration judge. If any of these rights are not granted, you then have the right to file a complaint until you are treated the way you ought to be under the law.
Retain a Deportation Defense Lawyer
Given the rapid changes affecting so much of the government and legal system in the past few months, it is entirely understandable that people are afraid and confused. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can be critical, especially when time may be of the essence. The skilled Chicago deportation defense lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are well versed in this area of law, and will work with you to help determine your best course of action. Call us today to set up a free consultation.
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