Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) will be conducting a series of raids in May and June, news sources reported Thursday. These raids will mainly target Central American mothers and children who entered the United States without inspection. According to an ICE representative, the agency is prioritizing the removal of undocumented persons who entered the country after January 1, 2014. Since 2014, the rise in unlawful entry by Central Americans, especially mothers and children from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, has placed a heavy financial burden on the U.S. government. Over the past two years, ICE has apprehended some 46,000 mothers and children. Apprehending, investigating, detaining, and removing undocumented individuals is costly, and the raids aim to deter more unlawful entries.
Similar raids in January resulted in the detention of 131 women and children, and 336 youths. Reports claim the May and June raids will target individuals who arrived as unaccompanied minors and have since turned 18, in addition to women and children.
With more than 11 million undocumented persons in the United States, illegal immigration continues to be at the forefront of politics this election year. Advocates are asking the Obama Administration to abandon the planned raids, arguing that such measures are not the solution.
For those at risk of apprehension, being prepared and informed is key:
- Do not carry documents from your country of origin with you and never carry false documents.
- Have a plan of action so you know who will watch your children if you are arrested. Make sure your family members have your immigration attorney’s contact information.
- If an ICE officer appears at your door, ask for an arrest or search warrant. If the officer does not have one, you do not have to open the door. If an officer asks to come inside without a warrant, do not let them in because you may forfeit some of your rights.
- If you are encountered by ICE, do not answer any questions, tell them where you were born or how you entered the United States, and do not sign anything. Never show false documents.
- You have the right to make a telephone call after you are arrested. Keep your immigration attorney’s telephone number in your wallet. If you are arrested, inform officers that you want to speak to your lawyer.
- ICE must tell you why you are in deportation proceedings by issuing a “Notice to Appear,” within 72 hours of your arrest. In most cases, ICE cannot deport you without giving you an opportunity to be heard by an immigration judge. This is not true for undocumented individuals found within 100 miles of the border or those with certain criminal convictions or prior deportation orders.
- If you are detained, you have the right to a reasonable bond amount so you can be released to fight your case. If your bond is too high, ask for a hearing to request a lower bond.
For more information about your rights, contact Law Offices of Manuela Morais at (856) 222-0130.