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If ICE visits your home or workplace, or stops you in public, this list will protect you

If you’re an immigrant facing deportation, here’s what you can do

If you know an immigrant facing deportation or you are one, you have rights. Here's what you can do.
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If you know an immigrant facing deportation or you are one, you have rights. Here's what you can do.

Fear of federal immigration raids and mass deportations has revived in the heart of immigrant communities, mired in uncertainty after an enforcement operation launched by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents targeting migrant families with removal orders.

But undocumented immigrants and families with mixed status have basic U.S. constitutional rights that they can exercise during encounters with ICE or “la Migra” — as the agency is commonly called in Spanish — in public places, at work or in their own homes.

One of the most important rights is that ICE agents cannot enter a home or employment site without a valid search warrant signed by a judge, and in the case of workplaces, without the employer’s consent.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), which has more than 15,000 attorneys and law professors, published three informational handouts about immigrants’ rights if ICE officers go to their homes, worksites or tries to question them on the street or in a public place during a raid.

The following is a summary of AILA’s handouts with additional resources prepared by el Nuevo Herald:

What to do if ICE officers come to my home?

1 Do not open the door

AILA’s lawyers say that you can chose to not open the door if the agents do not have a valid search warrant signed by a judge:

An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant.

If the officers claim to have a search warrant, ask them to slip it under the door or show it through a window.

If the name and address on the order are wrong, or if it is not signed, don’t open the door.

If you speak with them, do it from behind the closed door.

Read more: How have Trump’s policies made immigration system harder

2 – Keep silent

The lawyers’ group stressed that you have the right to remain silent and don’t have to answer particularly if they ask for your place of birth or how you entered the United States. Therefore, you can:

Tell them in a loud voice that you chose to remain silent.

Show them a know-your-rights information card.

Do not show them identity documents that say your country of origin, or false documents. Never lie.

3 – Speak to a lawyer

If you’re detained by ICE agents or taken into custody, you have the right to consult with a lawyer, even if you don’t have one, AILA noted.

If you have a lawyer and a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, show the form to ICE agents.

If you don’t have an attorney, ask immigration officials for a list of “pro bono” lawyers.

You can also call your country’s consulate in the United States to ask for help finding an attorney.

You can refuse to sign any document until you consult with a lawyer. If you do sign it without first consulting an attorney, make sure you understand it well.

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What to do if ICE agents come to my work?

1 – Remain calm and don’t try to run

If you’re afraid and you want to leave, walk calmly to the exit, AILA recommends.

If you’re stopped, you can ask if you’re free to leave. If the ICE agents say no, don’t leave the facility.

If they try to question you, you can respond that you prefer to remain silent.

Read more: New U.S. guidelines expand grounds to start deportation

2 – Remain silent

The lawyers’ association stressed that you have the right to remain silent if they ask where you were born or how you entered the country. Among other recommendations:

Tell them in a loud voice that you prefer to remain silent.

If ICE agents order your group to split according to immigration status, you can remain in the same place where you are standing or move to an area not designated for a specific group.

Show them a know-your-rights information card.

You can refuse to present identity documents with your place of birth. But don’t present fake documents or false statements.

3 – Consult with an attorney

If you’re detained by ICE agents, you have a right to consult immediately with a lawyer, even if you don’t have one, AILA noted. The organization explains:

If you have a lawyer and a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, give it to ICE officers.

If you don’t have an attorney, ask the immigration officials for a list of lawyers willing to work without fee or “pro bono.”

You can also telephone your country’s embassy or consulate in the United States to ask for help finding an attorney.

You can refuse to sign any document until you consult with a lawyer. If you do sign it without first consulting an attorney, make sure you understand it fully first.

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What to do if ICE confronts me on the street or in a public place?

1 – Remain silent

If you’re stopped by ICE agents on the street or other public places, you have the right to remain silent. AILA recommends:

Ask if you are free to leave. If the agent says no, you can exercise your right to remain silent.

You don’t have to respond if you’re asked where you were born or how you entered the United States.

Tell them in a loud voice that you wish to remain silent.

Show them the information card with your U.S. constitutional rights.

Do not show any documents that indicate your country of origin, or false documents. Never provide false information.

Read more: Here are some of the worst mistakes immigrants make applying for legal papers

2 – Refuse to submit to a search

AILA states that “if you are stopped for questioning but you are not arrested, you do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but an officer may ‘pat down’ your clothes if he or she suspects you have a weapon.”

3 – Talk to an attorney

If you’re detained by ICE agents, you have a right to consult with a lawyer, even if you don’t have one. AILA noted:

If you have a lawyer and a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, show it to the ICE agents.

If you don’t have an attorney, ask the immigration officials for a list of lawyers willing to work “pro bono.”

You can also telephone your country’s consulate in the United States to ask for help locating an attorney.

You can refuse to sign any document until you consult with a lawyer. If you do sign it without first consulting an attorney, make sure you understand it entirely before agreeing to sign it.

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Other useful resources for immigrants

Know Your Rights: Immigrants’ Rights, published by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Everyone has certain basic rights, no matter who is president, published by the National Immigration Law Center.

A Guide to Your Rights When Interacting with Law Enforcement, published by Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

Know Your Rights Amid Harsher Immigration Enforcement (Webinar), published by the National Immigrant Justice Center.

How to locate immigrants apprehended by ICE?

Immigrants held in an ICE detention facility, 18 years of age or older, may be located using the agency’s Online Detainee Locator System (ODLS), which should be updated within eight hours of release, removal, or transfer of detainees.

Family members, friends, advocates and attorneys can also telephone the ICE field office with jurisdiction over the location of the arrest.

The online detainee searches can be done by alien registration number of biographical information:

A-Number

A unique nine-digit number, starting with the letter A, assigned to a non-citizen by the Department of Homeland Security. Users must also select the detainee’s country of birth.

Biographical information

Requires the name and surname of the immigrant detained as well as the detainee’s country and date of birth.

Finally, if you need to locate an ICE detention center, here is the agency’s facilities directory.

Read more: These policy changes will impact immigrants in the U.S. in 2019

Daniel Shoer Roth is a journalist covering immigration law who does not offer legal advice or individual assistance to applicants. Follow him on Twitter @DanielShoerRoth.

Read more about legal and immigration issues in Spanish at AccesoMiami.com

Mistakes are common when filing immigration forms, and the applications can, therefore, be delayed or denied by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. These are some of the worst mistakes that should be avoided, according to USCIS.

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Daniel Shoer Roth es un galardonado autor, biógrafo y periodista con 20 años en la plantilla de el Nuevo Herald, donde se ha desempeñado como reportero, columnista de noticias y actual coordinador de AccesoMiami.com, una guía sobre todo lo que necesitas saber sobre Miami, asuntos legales e inmigración.
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