How to Protect Yourself in These Uncertain Times

There are many different ways that non-U.S. citizens can protect themselves right now. It all starts with education, though. Be smart if you have any interaction with ICE or law enforcement. If you have a way to gain status or obtain U.S. citizenship, don’t delay in moving forward with those applications.

If you have questions specific to your case, please talk with a reputable immigration attorney. We are providing 30 minute meetings to go through the items below to help you and your family prepare for life under increased immigration enforcement (please note these 30 minute meetings are only to “safety plan”).

What to Carry on You

  • If you are a permanent resident – have your green card on you at all times.
  • If you have a work card – be sure to carry it with you at all times.
  • If you have a pending case with USCIS, carry your receipts.

What to Do Proactively

  • If you are a LPR, see if you are eligible for US citizenship and apply!
  • If you have a criminal conviction, talk with an immigration attorney to see if the conviction has any impact on your immigration status. If it does, check with a criminal defense attorney to see if it’s possible to change the sentence or have it completely disappear (more than an expungement).
  • If you don’t have any legal status, you may want to ask a family law attorney to put together temporary letters of guardianship to protect your children and provide for their care if you are detained or deported.
  • If you don’t have legal status, you may want to get a power of attorney to name an individual to act on your behalf if you are detained or deported. This will allow them to access your bank accounts, sell your home or vehicle, and handle other items that need to be addressed in your absence.

Law Enforcement Interactions

  • If you are stopped by the police, be respectful. Ask if you can walk away – if they say yes, tell them you don’t want to answer any questions and then leave quietly.
  • If you are stopped in your car, be respectful and keep your hands in plain sight. Be cooperative, but do not volunteer any information about your immigration status – you have the right to remain silent and to ask for a lawyer.
  • If you are a passenger in a car that gets stopped, you can ask if you can leave. If they say no, you have the right to remain silent.
  • Do not show the officer false documents.

ICE Interactions

  • Do not answer the door to anyone you don’t know. Instruct your children to not answer the door to anyone. Once the door is open, ICE can come in and ask anyone about their immigration status.
  • Only allow ICE agents into your home if they have a judicial warrant – not an ICE warrant. They can hold it up to the window or slide in the mail-slot of your door, if you have one. You want to see a judge’s signature on the warrant.
  • ICE agents don’t always have on uniforms. They can be dressed like anyone else, so always be alert!
  • If you have to talk with the ICE agent, never lie and never show them false documents.

What to Do if Arrested by Law Enforcement

  • Stay calm.
  • Don’t talk to the officer about your immigration status or your country of birth.
  • Ask for a lawyer – and do not sign anything without talking with an attorney first.
  • You may need a criminal defense attorney before you need an immigration attorney.

What to Do if Arrested by ICE

  • Stay calm.
  • Say you want to talk to a lawyer.
  • Do not sign anything without talking to an immigration lawyer first – if you do, you may be signing paperwork to give up your right to fight to remain in the United States.

We’ll keep you posted as we hear more! Stay safe and stay smart!