With all the attention given to recent ICE raids all around the country, fears among the undocumented community have once again been heightened. When news of these raids spreads among the community, a feeling of vulnerability understandably prevails, and people are led to wonder if they'll be targeted next. Therefore it is important that a few things should be kept in mind just in case ICE comes knocking on the door.
First of all, whether you are undocumented or not, you are under absolutely no obligation to provide ICE with any information about your legal status. Undocumented people have rights too, and they are allowed to invoke their right of silence in the same way that U.S.citizens can.
Also, make sure not to sign any kind of paperwork whatsoever until your legal counsel advises you to do so.
An ICE officer does have the right to arrest you, even though he or she might not have any concrete proof that you are undocumented. But you definitely have the right to know what charge you are being arrested on.
So what happens after the arrest? Usually you are given the choice of leaving the country under the voluntary departure program, in which you have a set amount of time to tie up your affairs and leave the U.S. Under voluntary departure, your arrest is not held against you if you apply for a visa, either immigrant or non-immigrant, in the future. However you will be subject to the three or ten year bar on re-entry, depending on the length of time you remained in the US.illegally.
Alternatively, you can contest the matter in court (if under detention, you can request a bond to be released pending the outcome of the case).
Court cases in the U.S can sometimes take years to actually go before a judge, and during the time it takes for the case to go to court, the undocumented person scheduled to be tried can remain in the U.S. However, when the case comes to trial and if you lose (a likely possibility), you will be forcibly removed from the U.S., and this fact will stand against you if you wish to apply for a future visa to the U.S.
If confronted by an ICE agent, you are by law required to state your name, but when asked any further questions, such as providing proof of your legal right to work in the U.S., it is important that you contact a lawyer before answering these questions. In fact, it is absolutely critical that that you retain an attorney as soon as you are confronted by an ICE agent, so that you do not say anything that might prejudice your case, or make the job of ICE any easier.
For more information, and if you would like to set up a personal consultation today, please contact the office of Thomas P.McNulty and Associates.