Despite being called off by Donald Trump for now, fear remains in the immigrant community as agents from the administration’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Border Enforcement agency could begin raids in 10 cities on the homes of immigrants with court-ordered removals in less than two weeks.
Of course, this is on the heels of Donald Trump’s tweet Monday, June 17, that ICE is preparing to deport “millions” of undocumented immigrants and his subsequent postponement announcement hours before June 22, 2019.
And it looks as usual that Congress will get nothing done to save these immigrants in two weeks. So regardless, acting head of ICE, Mark Morgan, has confirmed that immigrants here “illegally” will “be removed.”
So what can you do if you are an immigrant in this category with a court removal hanging over your head?
The Immigration Legal Resource Center through its “Red Card” informational handouts, offers four key pieces of legal knowledge to store and follow and to share with others if you are not the ones actually impacted. Here goes:
- Know that you do not have to open your door.
ILRC says if an immigration agent is knocking on the door to try to enter you do not have to open and let them in. Unless they have a judicial warrant to enter, they cannot come in. Tell them: “I do not give you permission to enter my home based on my Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution unless you have a warrant to enter, signed by a judge or magistrate with my name on it that you slide under the door. And I do not give you permission to search any of my belongings based on my Fourth Amendment rights.”
2: Know that you do not have to answer any questions.
You have the right to remain silent. You DO NOT have to answer any question from an immigration agent if they try to talk to you. Tell them: “I choose to exercise my constitutional rights.”
3: Do not sign anything.
Make sure you do not sign anything without first speaking to a lawyer since you have the right under the U.S. laws to speak with an attorney. Tell them: “I do not wish to speak with you, answer your questions, or sign or hand you any documents based on my Fifth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.”
4: Print out and carry or pass along an ILRC Red Card.
Go to the ILRC website and print out the cards. Log on to https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards. Carry the card with you or you can help by sharing them with other immigrants affected by the Trump’s draconian scapegoating of immigrants.
If you are inside of your home, show the Red Card to an agent by sliding it through the window or door. The ILRC’s Red Cards help people assert their rights and defend themselves in many situations, such as when ICE agents go to a home.
If you are arrested, you will likely be moved to an ICE family residential detention center as the agency works with consulates to obtain travel documents. But you still have the option to appeal your case.
Also remember that if you have children who are U.S. citizens, you will likely be fitted with an ankle bracelet and allowed to stay with that child to allow time to get your affairs in order while other undocumented family members remain in custody.
Remember knowledge is power so stay informed and empowered by knowing your rights under the U.S. Constitution despite your undocumented status.
The writer is publisher at NewsAmericasNow.