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What Should I Do If I'm Detained by ICE?

The July Raids

Earlier this month, ICE completed a series of unsuccessful raids targeting 2,000 immigrants with removal orders. Many feared that these raids would also result in “collateral” deportations, meaning that ICE would arrest any undocumented immigrants who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Oddly, President Trump’s aggressive tweets about the raids gave immigrants enough time to prepare and research their legal rights. Sadly, 35 people who still apprehended and transferred to ICE detention centers.

The Trump Administration Expands its Deportation Power

President Trump was not pleased by the results of the July raids. On July 23, 2019, The Washington Post posted an article explaining how the Trump Administration is enacting a new strategy as a “necessary response” to the influx of Central Americans at the southern border. This “expedited removal” tactic was previously limited to migrants apprehended at the U.S. border. Now, the proposed targets of this deportation tactic are any migrants who don’t have a pending asylum case or scheduled immigration court date.

Terrifyingly, it would be immigration officers – not court officials – deciding who will end up in immigration jail for quick deportation. Immigration advocates are warning U.S. denizens that this policy, which turns ICE into a “show-me-your-papers militia,” could also affect legal residents and people who have previously been deported in error.

According to Maria Sacchetti of The Washington Post, this policy “will allow immigration authorities to quickly remove immigrants from anywhere they encounter them across the United States, and they expect the approach will help alleviate the nation’s immigration-court backlog and free up space in Immigration and Customs Enforcement jails.”

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that this policy could affect 300,000 unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Immigration lawyers are particularly concerned because agents now have the power to issue deportation orders without allowing the immigrant to stand before a judge or speak to a legal representative. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is already planning to sue the Trump Administration because this cruel policy is technically illegal. As Omar Jadwat of the ACLU explains, “Under this lawful plan, immigrants who have lived here for years would be deported with less due process than people get in traffic court.”

Understanding Your Legal Rights

If you or a loved one has been detained by ICE, it’s imperative that you recognize and utilize the resources available to you. For example, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild has created toolkits to help people in detention or facing deportation. The ACLU also provides guidelines that explain your legal rights during an arrest. Of course, this information serves as a general outline, so you must discuss your specific case with a qualified attorney to fully assess your legal options.

Follow these steps if you’re detained by ICE:

  1. Stay calm and collected, even if your rights are being violated.
  2. Do not run, attack, resist, or obstruct an agent.
  3. Always keep your hands where the agents can see them.
  4. Do not lie about your immigration status; in fact, don’t share any information with the agents.
  5. Announce that you wish to utilize your legal right to an attorney.
  6. Use your phone call to contact an attorney or loved one for help – let them know your location.
  7. Do not sign any documents without the presence of a lawyer.
  8. Request medical attention if you were injured during the arrest.
  9. If you’re denied release, ask for a bond hearing before an immigration judge.

Legally, every person detained by ICE has the right to one free phone call. The detainee is responsible for the costs associated with any additional or long-distance phone calls. This information is important to know because you’ll likely be transferred to a different state and forced to make long-distance calls.

Have You Been Arrested by ICE? Contact The Sekou Clarke Law Group Today

Contact the immigration lawyers at The Sekou Clarke Law Group if you’re concerned about future raids, have questions about your specific legal situation, or have been detained by ICE officials. Our experienced legal team has helped clients in all matters of immigration, including asylum and deportation defense. If you require legal guidance, rely on a team that can answer your questions and aggressively defend your rights through each step of this challenging legal process.

Call The Sekou Clarke Law Group at (407) 269-8774 to schedule a case evaluation.

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