August 9, 2019
You’ve heard the news. Maybe you’ve felt personally at risk of being ripped from your home. Maybe you’re living in fear that a loved one can be taken from you and detained at any moment. This is an unfortunate reality that so many Americans are currently living in, but here are some important tips on navigating an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid.
Do not open the door. Speak through the door as best you can, even if you have to raise your voice.
Try to stay as calm as possible and take slow deep breaths. Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have certain rights under the Constitution, and you should feel empowered to exercise those rights. If your body goes into shock, you may have less of a chance of keeping your wits about you, which you will need in this situation.
Ask the ICE agents for identifying information. In this day and age, people are impersonating agents to spread more fear. By asking the agents to identify themselves, this also lets them know that you know your rights.
You have the right to ask for an interpreter if you do not speak English.
A judicial warrant signed by a judge is the only thing allowing an ICE agent to enter your home. Ask the agent to slip the warrant under your door. Take a deep breath and give yourself some time to read the warrant and most importantly: make sure it is signed by a judge! The warrant must have your name and/or residence listed. A Form I-205 has been commonly used by ICE but does not legally allow entry without your permission.
If there is no warrant, if the warrant is not signed by a judge, or if it does not list your name and/or residence, keep the door locked and inform the ICE agent that you do not consent to entry.
Unfortunately, we are hearing of more cases of ICE agents illegally forcing entry even after one does not consent. If this happens to you, do not use physical force of any kind. The only statement you should make is, “I am remaining silent and wish to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.” Inform others in the residence to do the same.
Before speaking with an attorney, do not provide any form of documentation or sign any papers the ICE agent gives you. If you are detained, do not speak of your immigration status with anyone other than your attorney.
Do not apologize, do not beg, do not give ICE agents any information. I know it may feel like you’re being unhelpful and uncooperative, but anything you say could hurt you in the future.
If you are detained by an ICE agent, they are not required by law to give you an attorney. You must find an attorney or organization that can help you as soon as possible.
If you need help, please do not hesitate to call our office at 210-222-2297 for a free consultation. We are here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.