Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is an organization charged with safeguarding the U.S. border, but they are also responsible for raiding homes and businesses in search of possible illegal immigrants. If you know there is an illegal immigrant in your community, you might be sensitive to their plight and want to help. At the same time, you need to make sure that any help you offer keeps you on the right side of the law yourself. Here are some tips for affected parties to keep in mind.
Search Warrants Vs. Arrest Warrants
If you fear that ICE will be showing up at your door or the door of a loved one, make sure everyone inside the house understands their rights. The American Civil Liberties Union makes it clear that you may not have to open your door for ICE, even if they are yelling at you. In order for any officer of the law to come into a home, they must have a signed search warrant from a judge.
To be clear, most ICE officials show up with a "warrant" but it is a warrant for arrest or a warrant or removal. These documents are often drawn up by ICE themselves and are not the same as a search warrant signed by a judge. Ask the ICE agent to show you the warrant from the other side of the door and look for a judge's signature, and only let them in if it's a signed search warrant.
It is very important during an ICE raid that you speak up for yourself. When the ICE agent asks to be let inside, tell them that you do not consent and ask them to leave. Point out that they do not have a search warrant signed by a judge if necessary. Keep the door closed at all times until they've proved that they have the correct documentation.
That said, if ICE agents force their way in, do not become physical. Simply state again that you do not consent to their presence. If the ICE agent asks you to sign any documentation, you have the right to refuse. You also have the right to ask for an attorney and to remain silent until that attorney arrives. Don't allow yourself to be bullied.
Have a Communication Plan in Place
Whether you know someone who is an immigrant or you are an immigrant yourself, you need to have a plan in place to notify each other in the event that a raid takes place. Someone on the outside of the house may be able to get in contact with an immigration law firm that can come to your aid. Sometimes ICE will voluntarily leave the premises if a crowd forms outside in order to avoid a hostile situation. Be prepared to take to the streets around the house to politely inform the ICE officers that their presence is not welcome.
Contact an immigration law firm today for more information.
The instant I first stepped onto American soil, I truly felt like I was at home. I didn't know what the future would hold for me, but I knew that the experience was special. I dedicated my life to staying in this country and making a life for myself, and it was really fascinating to see how much of a difference my environment made for me. I was able to learn more, do more, and succeed more than I would have been able to in my home country, and so I started talking with immigration attorneys to see how I could stay. Check out this blog for more information on making the USA your home.