Back in 2017, Thomas Honan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a warning before Congress. He cautioned that no single immigrant population would be immune from increasingly stringent immigration policies moving forward. Since that time, many foreign-born individuals have been living in a sort of limbo, wondering if or when ICE officers will come knocking on their doors.
That fear was reinforced after the President recently issued a directive to ICE officers to raid the homes of undocumented immigrants across the country. Fewer raids occurred than anticipated, resulting in just 35 arrests of individuals with existing court-ordered removals. Yet that does little to diminish the ever-present fear many immigrants experience waiting for the day when ICE shows up on their doorstep.
According to immigrant rights advocates, ICE tactics have become increasingly more aggressive and even violent as they shift their efforts from raiding individuals’ workplaces to their homes. One group calls ICE tactics in more recent years, “coercive” noting ICE agents are “physically forcing their way inside, holding up their guns, and threatening to arrest everyone in the home.”
Immigration Law and Home Raids
Under the law, ICE agents are not permitted to enter homes without a warrant. Yet, reports are coming in describing agents verbally threatening occupants, displaying their weapons, and forcing their way into homes. This can be especially traumatic for children witnessing these violent intrusions. Undocumented immigrants either may not know rights during an ICE raid or simply may forget them in the midst of what is likely a frightening experience.
Know Your Rights
If ICE or police show up at your home, remember:
- Remain calm and speak to ICE agents through a closed door, if possible.
- You do not have to allow agents into your home without a warrant.
- While an arrest warrant does permit entry into the home if officers believe the person is inside, you must give consent for entry if they agents have a warrant of removal/deportation (Form I-205.)
- Ask officers or agents to identify themselves and display their badge or identification.
- If they have a warrant, ask them to slide it under the door or hold it up to a window for you to verify.
- Do not grant entry if they do not have a signed warrant naming a person at your residence.
- If agents force entry, you can state your right to remain silent, not to permit entry or search of the premises, and the right to speak to an immigration lawyer as soon as possible.
- Never lie or produce falsified documents.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Protect the Rights of Individuals Fearing ICE Raids
The compassionate Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. help clients understand their rights and become empowered to advocate for themselves when facing an immigration matter. To learn more about what to do and what not to do if you encounter ICE, schedule a consultation with a Philadelphia immigration lawyer dedicated to resolving tough visa, citizenship, and removal issues for clients throughout the greater Philadelphia region and nationwide. Call 215-925-4435 or contact us online to get started today.