Know Your Rights When it Comes to ICE!

These are difficult times. It is hard but be sure to prepare for the worst. There have been reports that ICE will be targeting certain individuals for deportation in a massive round up all over the country. Be aware. If you notice ICE officers in your community please report it to Florida Immigrant Coalition by calling 1-888-600-5762.

Detention facilities are already overcrowded. Now there are disturbing reports that ICE agents may hold some individuals in hotels while they prepare them for an expedited removal process. So here is a tip: Get an Attorney before the trouble comes to you. Make sure you and your family members each have an emergency number for an attorney ready in case you get detained. Below is the information you should be aware of.

If you are going to read parts of this, make sure you read the Know Your Rights Section.

Who Will ICE Target?

Reports indicate ICE will be targeting around 2000 families who have deportation orders. However, keep in mind that any other undocumented individuals who are in the raid locations will be detained as well. Here are the main targets of the raids:

  • Individuals with criminal convictions
  • Families with deportation orders outstanding
  • Unaccompanied Minors
  • Collateral undocumented individuals present during ICE Raids

If you are not on the list above, still be wary.

Preparation is Key

  • Have an attorney on call and ready. If you cannot afford an attorney, call the local legal aid to consult with a pro bono attorney.
  • Make sure you and your family members memorize the number of the attorney.
  • Prepare your family for a scenario where you are detained or ICE Agents are at your door. Have an emergency plan in place if you or a family member is detained.
  • Have a stand-by guardian to care for your children in case you are detained.
  • Keep copies of your important documentation with a trusted family member or friend.
  • Provide your family with the ICE hotline number at 1-888-351-4024  to be able to find you or another family member in detention. Also visit the ICE Detention webpage. You’ll need the A number, the place of birth and date of birth of the person in custody.
  • Have proof of your identification in a safe place.
  • If you are away from the home, take your identification with you.
  • Teach your family members, especially young children, not to open the door for any strangers unless you give them permission to do so.
  • Consult an attorney for legal advice regarding your legal options before hand. Don’t assume that you are out of options. The attorney may likely know something you don’t.
  • Memorize your “A” number and provide your family members with your A number.
  • If you tell your family members one thing to do during a raid, its, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. But do not lie about anything or provide fake documentation especially about your identity or your status under any circumstance.

Know Your Rights

You may not have legal status in the U.S. but that does not give anyone the right to violate your constitutional rights. Remember you can protect yourself by enforcing those rights. Below is advice about  what to do, what not to do while you are exercising your right.

Law Enforcement Stop

  • Do not panic, run, fight, resist, speed off or block the officer.
  • Do not lie or produce false documentation to the officer or ICE agent.
  • You don’t have to answer questions about your immigration status, where your were born, and how you entered the U.S.. Do not admit to anything the officer asks. Say out loud, “I have the right to remain silent.”
  • You must provide your name, identification and vehicle insurance and documentation to the police officer if requested.
  • If the officer or agent ask to search your vehicle, say out loud, “I do not consent to a search of myself or my belongings.” The officer may perform a pat down for weapons.
  • If you are arrested (criminal arrest) by the police, you have the right to a government appointed attorney. Ask for one immediately without answering questions or making any further statements.
  • If detained by an ICE agent, you will not be provided an attorney but you have the right to contact your attorney upon request. Also ask for a list of attorneys that provide free or low cost representation.

law enforcement (police or ice) are at your door

  • You don’t have to open the door. Speak to the officer through the door.
  • Even if you open the door, it does not give the officer (a police officer or ICE agent) the right to enter your home without your consent. If the police officer has an arrest or search warrant for a person in the home or the property, they can enter. However, a warrant of removal or deportation (Form I-205) does not give the officers a right to enter without your consent.
  • Ask for proof that they are an officers by asking for their badge or ID. Do not open the door. Ask the officer to slip it under the door or place it at the window.
  • If the officer, has no arrest warrant, state out loud, “I do not consent to your entry.”
  • If ICE or police officers legally enters the home by your consent or with a search or arrest warrant, you still have the right to remain silent.
  • DO NOT LIE. One or more lies, especially in regards to your identification or immigration status will only make things worse for you. The officer can charge you with further immigration violations.
  • Even if the police or ICE illegally enters your home, do not fight back. Verbally assert your right by stating, “I don’t consent to your entry or search of this property” Then exercise your right to remain silent.
  • Document everything that is happening, especially when your rights are being violated. If the agent violated your rights, it could be used as defense or to throw out evidence in court.
  • Do not make statements or sign anything. If the officer drafts a statement and asks you to sign, refuse to sign until your attorney can properly advise you.
  • Call your attorney as soon as ICE is at your door. If you are dragged away, tell your undetained family member to call your attorney immediately.

ICE or police have detained or arrested you

  • Exercise your right to remain silent.
  • Don’t admit to anything, sign anything, provide explanations or excuses without consulting your attorney first.
  • Demand an attorney if arrested
  • Demand to speak to your attorney if detained.
  • The officers cannot listen to your conversations with your lawyer.
  • If detained by ICE, you have the right to contact your consulate.
  • Be sure that you consult a criminal attorney and/or an immigration attorney about the effect of your criminal arrest and conviction on your immigration status (before pleading guilty or coming to a plea agreement).
  • Make sure you understand everything you read. Ask for an interpreter if necessary.
  • If you are being held without release, ask for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. If at all possible, have an attorney prepare you for the bond hearing.

Beware of Scams: Notarios and paralegals cannot represent you in immigration court or prepare legal documents on your behalf. Only an immigration lawyer or individuals authorized by the court to advocate can represent you before the immigration court. There is the AILA referral listing with qualified attorneys. You can also check online with the State Bar to verify the attorney’s good standing in the state(s). If you’ve been victimized, reach out to AILA’s Stop Notario Fraud to make a report.

Here are some additional resources for you

Legal Assistance

Catholic Charities Legal Services of Miami

Legal Aid Service of Broward County

Other Help for Detained Immigrants

List of Immigrant help hotlines

You’re not alone. Reach out for help. Be careful and take care.

NOTE: As always this is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Consult an immigration attorney, like myself, for advice regarding your particular circumstances.

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