Jesse J. Bañuelos, a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU’RE DETAINED BY US ICE OFFICERS
A foreigner who is in the US illegally is subject to being deported/removed at any time because he has no right to be here. Even though a legal permanent resident [a green card holder] has a right to be, and to live, in the US, he can also be deported or removed for any number of reasons, including conviction of certain crimes, for living outside the US for more than six months at a time, or for other violations of the immigration laws, such as alien smuggling, claiming to be a US citizen, etc. [deportation proceedings are immigration court proceedings that began April 1, 1997. Therefore, an order of expulsion issued by a court in those proceedings is a deportation order. Removal proceedings are immigration court proceedings that began on or after April 1, 1997. Therefore, an order of expulsion issued by a court in those proceedings is a removal order]. If you’re detained by ICE officers, whether you’re undocumented or a green card holder, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO:
1. Remain silent. You don’t have to answer any of the officers’ questions regarding your immigration status in this country. However, it is a serious federal offense to tell a lie to an ICE officer. Therefore, if you decide to answer any of the officer’s questions, you must tell the truth;
2. Retain legal representation, at your expense. If the officer persists, explain to him or her that you would like to consult with an attorney before answering any of his, or her questions;
3. Have your case heard by an immigration judge;
4. Refuse to sign any documents that the officers may present to you because if you do, you may be giving up your right to have your case heard by an immigration judge, to consult with an attorney, or you may be agreeing to voluntary departure;
5. Contact the consulate of your country. You can get the contact information of most foreign consulates at FOREIGN CONSULATES. Your country’s consulate can assist you in finding an attorney to represent you, if you do not know how to find one yourself;
6. Make a phone call, with certain limitations as to length and frequency. However, you won’t be allowed to receive phone calls, or to have, or use, a cell phone while you’re in detention; and
7. Have friends, relatives, and/or an attorney visit you while you are in detention. However, before visiting you, anyone wishing to do so should first check your detention facility’s policies regarding visits. Moreover, it would be unwise for any undocumented friend or relative to visit you because they would also be subject to detention and deportation.
How can my family find out where I’m detained by ICE?
If you’re detained by ICE, and your family doesn’t know where you are, they can find out by visiting the Online Detainee Locator System. This system provides information regarding the location of someone who is in ICE custody or who was released from ICE custody within the last 60 days. NOTE: this system doesn’t have any information regarding any person under the age of 18.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF US ICE OFFICERS COME TO YOUR HOME
If ICE officers come to your home looking for you, or for someone else, they can’t enter your home unless you give them permission, or if they have a search warrant signed by a Judge. A deportation order signed by an Immigration Judge is not enough. If they enter your home without permission and without a search warrant, calmly explain to them that they have entered without permission, and that they’re in violation of the law. However, YOU MUST NOT, under any conditions, physically or verbally interfere with them in any way because if you initiate any physical contact with them, however minor, you could be arrested for, and charged with, any number of serious federal offenses, including assault on a federal officer, interference with a federal officer while in the performance of his duties, etc. Nevertheless, you can and you should take the names and badge numbers of the officers whom you believe to be acting in violation of the law so that you can, if you wish, file a complaint or a legal action against them in the future.
IF YOU’RE DETAINED BY THE ICE, YOU WILL NEED LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO FIGHT YOUR CASE
If you’re detained by ICE officers and are placed in deportation/removal proceedings, because those proceedings could end with the issuance of an expulsion order against you which could result in permanent banishment from the US, your best hope of staying in the US legally is with the help of an experienced immigration attorney, such as Mr. Bañuelos. Because he is hardworking and tenacious, Mr. Bañuelos has been successfully resolving difficult immigration problems, and has been winning difficult deportation and removal cases for over 20 years.