Lawyers Eileen Morrison and Linda Cristello graciously volunteered their time to come and lead our Know Your Rights event.
We quickly got into the most important topic:
What do you if an ICE agent is knocking on your door, or at your work, or on the train with you?
The simplest answer is plead the 5th, do not give up any documents, and call your lawyer. If you do not have one, immediately call the ACLU, AILA or PAIR. You still do not have to say anything until under oath in a court.
The most important concept here though is something we often think of in public health, which is preparation and prevention.
1. Have an attorney
2. Know your status–call ICE, demand to talk to a supervisor and get information about exactly where your application, etc. is. Long story short, they are not there to help you so you must be persistent with them if you don’t want to get trapped a rabbit hole.
3. Have a plan for yourself and your kids in the event of detainment. Call your lawyer FIRST, then call family, neighbors etc. Remember again to not panic and remember your rights. Do not turn over any documentation. You can say you don’t know where it is. They cannot search your premises unless they have a warrant signed by a judge and only a judge. Not an ICE agent, supervisor or anyone else.
4. Follow the rules to the letter. Do not let your Visa time table slip. Do not forget to meet deadlines. Continue checking in, but bring your lawyer with you or at least notify them you are going.
Right now we live in a time where the smallest slip up can have disastrous consequences. You must be your best advocate by staying diligent and aware.
Another event is being planned focusing on asylum-seeker concerns specifically. It will be hosted at BU on March 9th, 2017.