If you have a green card, you may think that you're safe from the current ICE raids. Unfortunately, that's not entirely true. In the heat of the moment, ICE agents will detain anyone who appears suspect and then sort out the documentation later. However, it can take weeks and even months to sort that out. While that's happening, you'll remain in custody, under the threat of deportation. Here are four steps to help you prepare for an immigration raid.
Know Your Rights
When it comes to surviving an immigration raid, it's crucial that you know your rights. First, you have the right to remain silent. In fact, you should remain silent, since they'll be looking for a reason to deport you. You have the right to refuse a physical search. You also have the right to request an attorney. Understanding those rights will help you know what to do should you be swept up in an immigration raid.
Carry a Copy of Your Immigration Card
If you have the legal right to be in this country, carry your immigration card with you at all times. If you've lost your immigration card, carry copies of your paperwork with you. Keep the official paperwork in a secure location. You never want to hand over your official paperwork, unless you're ordered to. However, if you're ordered to provide your official paperwork, make sure to make a copy for yourself first. It's also important that you contact the immigration department to request a new copy of your green card. If you're detained by ICE agents, you need to provide documentation of your legal status immediately. The sooner you prove that you're legal to be in the United States, the sooner you'll be allowed to leave ICE custody.
Keep Attorney Information on Hand
If you were not born in this country, keep attorney information on hand at all times. This step is important whether you have legal status to be in the country, or you're here illegally. If you're detained during an ICE raid, you'll need legal representation right away. The best way to ensure access to that representation is to have carry contact information for an immigration citizenship attorney in your wallet.
Don't Sign Anything Without Legal Representation
If you've been detained by ICE agents, you may be presented with paperwork that needs to be signed. Don't sign anything without your attorney present. You could be signing voluntary deportation documents, which means they can deport you immediately. An attorney will explain all the paperwork that's being provided to you, and will ensure that your rights are protected.
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