Starting in the beginning of January 2016, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began an operation to apprehend and deport undocumented immigrants across the United States. These raids target adults and children who crossed the southern U.S. border within the previous year, and represented the first large-scale effort to deport families fleeing violence in Central America. It is perhaps worth noting that this violence is driven primarily by criminal groups whose main source of income is the consumers of cocaine, heroin and amphetamines within the United States. More than 100,000 families with both adults and children have made the journey across the southwest border from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador since last year, in addition to a related surge in unaccompanied children.
ICE officers often arrive without warrants in cases where immigration judges have issued an order of removal. Orders of removal give ICE officers authority to detain immigrants, but not to enter homes without permission. Immigrants have the right to deny ICE officials entry, and if they say no, the federal officials are expected to honor that right.
The immigration experts at Joseph Law Firm, P.C. recommend that you should remain silent in these situations, and only open the door to government agents if they have an order signed by a judge to enter your house, which you can ask agents to pass under your door. These situations can be quite intimidating for both longtime American citizens and recent arrivals, but if you make statements or open the door to agents without such an order, there may be misunderstandings and agents could interpret your words and actions as an invitation to enter your home. We also advise that you store the phone numbers of attorneys and trusted relatives in the cell phones of all members of your household.
ICE agents have been known to wrongfully detain even lawfully present individuals, so it is important to be aware of your rights. If you are an immigrant who is contacted by ICE or any other law enforcement agency, your first call should be to the Joseph Law Firm, P.C. Our immigration experts have years of experience helping people in these situations, and will help you fight for your right to live and work in America to the greatest extent possible under the law. To download and print “red cards” which you can use as a quick reference for your rights as an immigrant in America, please go to http://www.ilrc.org/resources/red-cards.
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