President-elect Donald Trump has proposed immigration policies that are causing anxiety among immigrants and the immigrant rights community. Much remains unknown about how and when these changes will come. However, our system of checks and balances as well as pushback from the immigrant rights community will ensure that there will be limits on what the President-Elect can do. Regardless, it is always important for immigrants to understand their rights.
As a reminder to immigrant communities, the National Immigration Law Center released a helpful guide which explains what individuals should do if they encounter law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
The reminders include:
- You have the right to remain silent. You may refuse to speak to immigration officers.
- Do not open your door (ICE must have a warrant signed by a judge to enter).
- You have the right to speak to a lawyer.
- Before you sign anything, talk to a lawyer.
- Always carry with you any valid immigration document you have.
- If you are worried that ICE will arrest you, let the officer know if you have children.
- Carry a “know-your-rights card” and show it if an immigration officer stops you.
NILC’s “Know Your Rights” guide also provides tips on where to find legal help assistance including www.AILAlawyer.org. They explain how to report raids and arrests in your community and recommend everyone come up with a safety plan in case an enforcement action takes place in your workplace or community.
A safety plan should include having the number of a friend memorized, telling that friend where they can find your important documents including your “A-number,” and putting a plan in place for your children’s care in case you are detained.
It’s also important to avoid “notarios” and other unethical people who make promises about immigration relief that are fraudulent or that they cannot deliver on. Continuing to pay attention to non-profit immigrant service providers is important to ensure you receive up-to-date information on any changes in immigration policy.
The next few years may be a challenging time for the immigrant community. However, it’s important to educate ourselves and our loved ones and to continue to stand together.
Photo by Korean Resource Center 민족학교.