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How Can Immigrants Protect Their Rights During ICE Raids?

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What is ICE?

In March of 2003, Congress created the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. In an effort to make matters more efficient, it created ICE to act as a separate enforcement branch outside of the Department of Justice, but under its control. ICE is the law enforcement government agency responsible for enforcing the United States federal immigration and customs laws. A primary focus of ICE is to ensure that national security is protected by investigating crimes related to immigration and enforcing current immigration code and regulations. An ICE agent has the express authority to conduct law enforcement actions, which includes making arrests, holding suspected immigration offenders in detention, and conducting raids.

ICE is a government agency that is not without controversy and scrutiny. As our immigration laws and temperament towards immigration-related offenses tend to change with every presidential administration, ICE invariably ends up in the news for conducting raids, holding people in detention, but also undertaking allegedly both controversial and newsworthy actions.

For unlawful immigrants, lawful permanent residents, and U.S. citizens, ICE appears to represent a threat, to themselves, their loved ones, and to their communities.
It is important for immigrants and their families, regardless of their legal status, to understand how to conduct themselves on the occasion of an ICE raid. Immigrants have legal rights, again, regardless of their immigration status, and those rights should be defended.

What Are Your Legal Rights During an ICE Raid?

If ICE arrives at your front door, you must attempt to remain calm and polite. You have the right to keep the door closed. Opening the door does not provide ICE agents with the authority to enter your home, but they may later state that it did if you consent to their coming in. In certain situations, it may be required to be recommended for approval if you petition a spouse.

In other situations, where there is no valid warrant, it is simply safer to speak with the ICE agents through the door than it is to open the door. It is wise to teach your children not to open the door when someone knocks.

Again, ICE agents and the police do not have the right to enter your home without your consent unless they have proper warrants signed by a judge. If ICE and law enforcement officers have an arrest warrant, they are legally permitted to enter your home if they believe that the person the warrant was written for is inside the home.

However, a warrant of removal or deportation does not allow officers to enter a home without consent. Additionally, an ICE warrant is not signed by a judge. ICE warrants are forms signed by ICE officers.

ICE warrants do not necessarily grant ICE agents authority to enter a home without the consent of the home’s occupants. If they claim to have “a valid warrant,” ask them to slip the warrant under the door for you to review. Look at the top and signature lines of the warrant to determine whether they were signed by a judge and issued by a court. If they were not signed by a judge, they do not have the authority to enter your premises without your consent.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything that you say to an ICE agent or police officer during an ICE raid could be used against your case at a later date.

Do not lie about your legal immigration status or provide false documents. Falsifying documents or attempting to mislead law enforcement can result in harsh legal consequences.

Sometimes, ICE agents will attempt to use a ruse to get you to open the door or let them in. Be cautious.

If you do not speak English and the ICE agents do not speak your language, you have the right to ask for an interpreter.

If ICE agents or police officers ask you to sign any documentation, request to speak with your attorney first. Our law firm has extensive experience representing clients in complex immigration law cases. If you have had an unfortunate encounter with ICE and other immigration officers, seek counseling quickly! A thorough appointment helps to appreciate and properly react to any consequences of an arrest and detention.

What to Do in ICE Encounters in Public Spaces?

Encountering ICE agents in public spaces can be frightening. Attempt to remain calm and move to a safe indoor space. If you feel safe to do so or are a U.S. citizen, you may attempt to record the ICE activity with your phone or write down any relevant information about their activity. However, do not go so far as to interfere or obstruct their duties.

ICE is a law enforcement agency geared to enforce both civil and criminal violations of Federal Immigration Law.

Do not run or physically resist. Attempting to flee the scene is likely to escalate the situation and can endanger your life.

Remember that you have the right to remain silent and deny requests to answer questions about your immigration status or country of origin. Additionally, you have the right to speak with a lawyer prior to speaking with law enforcement.

Do not provide false or fraudulent information, and avoid signing any documents presented by ICE without first speaking with your attorneys.

Ask if you are free to leave. If the ICE agents confirm that you are not being detained, you have the right to depart from the encounter calmly.

What Should You Do if You Are Detained by ICE?

You have the right to retain professional legal representation. However, ICE and other government agencies do not have the requirements to provide you with a lawyer. If you do not have an attorney, please contact our law firm.

You have the right to speak with your consulate or have an ICE agent notify your consulate of your recent arrest.

You have the right to remain silent. Do not divulge your immigration status, or why you are in the country without first speaking to your lawyers.

Do not sign any documents. Some documents may lead to your immediate deportation from the United States. Make sure to have your lawyer read and review all paperwork presented by ICE agents.

Remember your immigration number, known as the alien number, and share it with your loved ones. This number starts with a capital ‘A’ will help them locate you and know your status.

Schedule an In-Depth Consultation with Experienced Immigration Attorneys Today

The Law Office of Kevin Dixler has extensive experience representing clients with complicated immigration law cases. We can represent your interests if you have had an unfortunate encounter with an ICE agent or have been detained by ICE agents following a raid. Remember, you have legal rights, and those rights deserve to be defended.

Let us help you through this challenging situation.

Schedule your case review, which can last up to an hour, with our highly skilled legal team by contacting us at 312-728-4610.

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