For the past days we have been receiving disturbing news about immigrant families being rounded up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents at their place of work or even in their homes. Our office keeps receiving calls from people worried about their future and safety of their children.
While there is only limited information available and the situation is still developing, it appears that the agency is primarily targeting individuals with outstanding removal (“deportation”) orders. This group includes women and unaccompanied children, mainly from Central American countries, who entered the United States since May 2014, during the recent immigration crisis.
In a situation like this, it is very important to know your rights and remember that having no legal immigration status does not deprive you of constitutional protections afforded to all people in the United States. While many people would feel intimidated under the circumstances, it is important to be aware of your rights and not to waive them without a reason.
First, absent emergency, in order to enter one’s home government officials are required to have a warrant issued by a judge, or, alternatively, receive a permission to enter from a home’s resident. However, once permitted to enter, any person found in the house could be questioned and may be arrested if suspected of being in the United States illegally.
Second, when a person is questioned she or he has the right to remain silent. While many people feel compelled to talk, it’s important to remember that silence is not an indication of any wrongdoing. Any information provided by a person may and, most likely, will be used against him or her.
Finally, even if a person was arrested by the immigration, there might be some form of relief available to that person under the immigration laws based on her/his family ties in the United States, length of residence, et cetera. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to determine what you or your loved ones can do in that situation.
DISCLAIMER: Attorney Advertisement. The information presented in this article is for informational purposes only, is not intended as, and should not be construed as a legal advice. This information should not be relied upon without first seeking professional legal counsel.