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Know your rights: What to do if immigration officials show up at your door

February 13, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Know your rights: What to do if immigration officials show up at your door Customs Enforcement detain undocymented immigrant via REUTERS

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News of recent waves of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids have sparked fear among undocumented families living in sanctuary cities such New York, Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas across the U.S.

Immigrant advocacy group ‘Make the Road New York’ verified reports that five arrests were made in Staten Island and one in Queens stemming from February 3rd. Most of the foreigners are Mexican and were arrested at their homes.

ICE confirmed there had been 40 apprehensions in the New York area this past week alone.

President Trump signed an executive order in January enforcing a crackdown on undocumented immigrants with criminal records which should be targeted by immigration officials.

Yasmine Farhang, an immigration attorney with ‘Make the Road,’ told the New York Daily News that the group has been hosting “know your rights” sessions at several locations to educate immigrant communities if such raids transpire.

Five steps have been outlined if authorities show up at your door.

1. Ask to see a warrant:

City University Professor Allan Wernick, who writes weekly immigration columns for the New York Daily News, said there are two forms of warrants.

Immigration agents may arrest a person in a public setting with an administrative warrant that’s issued by Homeland Security.

However, police cannot enter a home without a court order signed by a judge or without the resident’s consent.

“If officers don’t have a warrant, do not let them in,” Wernick stated.

Farhang recommends telling ICE agents to slip the warrant under the door and to request a translator if necessary.

2. Request a lawyer or contact an agency

Farhang and Wernick emphasized that individuals should have an attorney or an immigration agency on call just in case.

3. Gather contact information and have an emergency procedure

If residents have an outstanding deportation order and are arrested, they are given the right to bond. Wernick advises having the contact information of a friend with access to a fund.

It’s also suggested to flag ICE officers if someone has a medical problem and, if children are present during the detention, have a secondary caretaker on call.

She further advised that if anyone has information about a possible raid to call the Immigrant Defense Project’s hotline at (212) 725-6422.

4. Always Remain silent

If an individual is not the person listed on a warrant, they are not required to answer questions from the officer because anything that is said will be used against you.

5. Do not sign paperwork

No one should sign any documents unless a lawyer is present. Wernick and Farhang emphasized the importance of requesting an immigration lawyer and not to show personal documents such as passports from one’s native country.

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