Being informed, prepared and with access to the resources and aids available for immigrants in this country, is perhaps the best weapon available to defend themselves in times of crisis like those that are now lived.
Information is undoubtedly the best weapon in the Trump era.
We interviewed experts, lawyers, activists and answered questions from our readers.
This article summarises the best advice given this year in our series “Know Your Rights with Opinion” on various protection issues for immigrant families.
All these will continue to be relevant, and maybe more, next year.
(Note from author and editor: The following are not legal advice from the newspaper or journalist, but are based on interviews with lawyers licensed to operate in a state of the American union and as generic and informative advice. a lawyer to get advice on your specific situation)
Immigrants, even the undocumented, have legal rights and protections in this country. Knowing your situation, being prepared for any eventuality – such as a raid or arrest – can make the difference between a major tragedy and a manageable one.
This year, a new government in the White House escalated the raids and arrests of immigrants with pending deportation orders, reopened closed cases, cancelled temporary programs and, in general, intensified the hunt for undocumented immigrants and other potentially “deport-able” immigrants.
Below are some of the most important tips that the experts gave to our readers over the course of the year.
What to do in case of a raid?
Do not open the door if you do not know who is is.
ICE agents usually arrive in the morning looking for someone in particular. They often announce that they are “police” but the police and ICE have very different uniforms.
Ask for a signed court order to be shown or slipped under the door and not open unless there is an order with the name of someone who resides in the house.
If you are interrogated by ICE agents, just say your name. You have the right to remain silent, do not be intimidated. Have a “rights cards” that distribute pro-immigrant groups and give it to the agent in question.
Here the video of the FB live on raids, with Angela Sanbrano, lawyer and activist.
What happens if you have a deportation order?
According to figures from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the United States, nearly one million foreigners have an old or pending deportation order that has not been met. The immigration authorities claim that these people are on their list of priorities at this time.
If there is a combination of a deportation order and a criminal record, they may pick it up. To find out if you have an outstanding order, there is a phone number you can call and a computer from the justice department answers and gives you the status of your case through your foreign number or “A” Number or registration number . The number to call is 1 800 898 7180.
If you have an outstanding order it is best to consult a lawyer and ask for your ICE file because it is possible that this can alert the authorities and pay attention to your case.
In some cases it is possible to request the reopening of the case and another benefit, if you have a child, left and entered again with “advanced parole”, etc.
People say that a lawyer is very expensive, but there are community organizations everywhere that have lawyers who can help, they have excellent lawyer supervision and they can give you an analysis of your case.
If you have a regular appointment with immigration, you are in danger of arrest. Before going, talk to a lawyer. ICE has limited resources. Not opening the door is the best defense since they rarely have an official search warrant.
What happens if an immigrant has a criminal record?
The criminal system and the immigration system are two separate and different justice processes. The criminal courts are separate from the migrants, however, being convicted – and nowadays even only accused – of a crime can affect their immigration status in different ways and make it easier for the federal government to deport them, even as a legal resident .
It is necessary to consult a lawyer. A crime can prevent them from being eligible for immigration relief and also make it difficult to prove what they are of “good moral character,” which is a requirement for obtaining immigration benefits.
One of the most important tips in this case is not to plead guilty to a crime, however small it may seem. There are innocent people who plead guilty. But the consequences for an immigrant, even a legal resident, are much worse.
You need to consult an immigration attorney and another criminologist to assess whether it is possible to achieve post-conviction relief that reduces or clears a criminal record.
Be careful, as a legal resident to leave the country if you have a crime in your past. Many times they identify him when entering the country again and could arrest him and take his green card.
Always pay the fines and if you have not already done so, hire a lawyer to present yourself to the court to pay them or to hear them.
It is possible to lose residence for certain crimes, especially those who have a prison sentence or parole of 365 days or more. That is why it is important that the lawyer representing a criminal case knows the immigration consequences of a guilty plea.
The U Visa for people who have been victims of a crime is an ideal relief for people who have something in their past and arrests at the border, because if you qualify, they forgive most of the past.
How to protect children in case they deport parents?
Given the possibility of deportation to undocumented parents, the question arises: take or not take their children to a country that may not even remember?
Parents have the option of taking their children with them or leaving them here in charge of someone. If one of the parents stays in the United States, he will have legal custody.
In principle, undocumented parents must identify a person (or more than one) who can temporarily take care of their children in case they deport them.
That person could make sure that their children go to school, have their medical appointments, also work with the consulate of their country to send their children where you are if needed.
For someone to temporarily take care of their children’s needs, it is necessary to fill out a “Caregivers Affidavit”, an affidavit that authorises a person you designate to enrol children in school, take them to a clinic, etc.
Beware of lawyers or notaries who ask you for money to make a “power of attorney”. These are not valid in many states.