- Classifieds – Main
Q: I have heard that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have begun some targeted enforcement actions across the US to locate and remove certain individuals from the United States. Who are these groups of people?
A: The Executive Order signed by President Trump on January 25th, 2017 titled ‘Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States’ gives ICE broad enforcement priorities and currently, it is clear that ICE is focused on three groups of individuals: Those with an outstanding order of removal; those who have re-entered the US after a deportation even though they were not convicted of a re-entry offence and ‘criminal aliens’ or those with a criminal conviction. It is also important to be aware that other individuals who are found by ICE while in the process of conducting operations to pick up ‘identified individuals’ are also at risk of being detained as they fall within the broader enforcement priorities of the Executive Order. So for example, if ICE show up at your home to pick up your brother who has a criminal conviction or a prior removal order but your mother also lives in the home and her only immigration violation is she is undocumented, it is very likely that she too will be picked up as part of the operation.
Q: I was arrested last month for assault and my lawyer says that most likely my case will be dismissed because my accuser had lied. I am very worried that I will also be targeted by ICE. I am not undocumented but I am a visa overstay.
A: I like to point out that even though the enforcement priorities outlined in the Trump Executive Order of January 25th, 2017 does indeed include anyone who was charged with an offence or committed an ‘act that could be a chargeable offence’, it is clear that ICE is currently focused on individuals who have been convicted of an offence. You are advised to work to get your assault case dismissed as soon as possible.
Q: What kind of criminal offences or violations could result in being targeted by ICE?
A: The Executive Order does not clearly define what the offences are. It says that those who have been charged with any offence or committed an act that could be a chargeable offence are subject to enforcement. As such, any conviction includes a felony, misdemeanor, DWI or DUI, and traffic violations such as driving without a driver license. Those who have been charged with crimes that have yet to be adjudicated and those who receive improper health benefits or use fake identity or fake social security cards could also eventually be targeted by ICE.
Q: What do I do if ICE shows up at my home?
A: If ICE shows up at your home, do not open the door. Ask if they have a signed warrant and verify that they do have one. Have ICE slip the warrant under your door or show through the window, if possible, so that you can look at it. If they do not have a signed warrant, ask them to leave. If they have a warrant, it is best to just comply and step out of the house. Do not sign anything provided to you by ICE. You have the right to remain silent and tell them you will need to speak to your immigration attorney and to inform a relative or friend of the situation. Remain calm at all times. You may be eligible for release on bond, depending on your circumstances. You may also be eligible for relief from deportation or removal.
Q: How can we prepare to deal with being pick-up by ICE?
A: It is best to consult with an immigration attorney in advance to know your rights and what forms of relief you may be eligible for in the event you are picked up by ICE. Ensure that you have documentary proof of having been present in the US for at least two years if you have been here for longer than that period of time. If you have children and other family members who depend on you for support, ensure that you have made arrangements for their needs to be taken care of if you are no longer able to be there. These may include giving power of attorney to a trusted individual to make important decisions for your children
Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.
Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.