Since the Trump Administration, deportation rates have increased. Many people around the U.S. have lived in fear. They are left to think that today is their last day with their families. More still don’t know their rights if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) knocks at their door.
Immigrants are told that they don’t have rights because they are not American citizens. This is false. If ICE approaches you, there are ways to protect yourself and your family.
What can I do before ICE approaches me?
Make a plan with your family if you know you’re at risk for deportation. There’s no guarantee that you will be safe from deportation. Yet, it’s important that your loved ones know what actions to take if you were to be deported.
It’s also vital to be in contact with a lawyer. It’s important that you and your lawyer have open communication so they can help if ICE were to approach you. Contact them when you apply to change your immigration status or travel outside of the U.S. These actions can get ICE’s attention, but your lawyer can help protect you.
What do I do if ICE approaches me?
ICE agents typically approach people in public. They will call out your name. This is their way of confirming that you are who they think you are. Although you should never lie to an ICE agent, you don’t have to volunteer information. You have the right to say, “Am I free to go?” ICE is then put in the position to act. At this point, they will either detain you or let you go. If you are free to leave, calmly walk away. If you are being detained, exercise your right to remain silent and request your lawyer.
Keeping calm during this terrifying situation can only do you favors. Your lawyer can better aid you if you stay calm and know your rights. You are not legally obligated to give any information to the ICE agents. Also, you are not required to sign anything without a lawyer present. If an ICE agent were to search you without your consent, calmly say “I do not give consent for you to search me.”
Although there is a risk of deportation, it’s important to know your rights if you are ever confronted by ICE. Make sure your documentation is up to date and you have a plan with your family. You don’t have to live in fear. If you exercise your rights, you have a better chance of continuing your life in America.