When it comes to dealing with Immigration Customs Enforcement officers, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Being prepared for an ICE raid will help you stay calm throughout the process. Below are our tips for how to prepare and what to do in the event that you’re detained by ICE in North Carolina.
1. Start getting organized now.
Do not wait until you are stopped, questioned, or detained by an ICE agent in North Carolina. Start preparing and organizing right now.
- Make copies of your birth certificate, your passport, your marriage certificate, and the birth certificates and passports of all of your children.
- Start gathering evidence that shows how long you have lived in the United States. Determine the first year you arrived in the United States and start gathering documents with your name and the date to show that you have lived in the United States since that first year. Examples of documents can be tax records, school records, medical records, leases, bills, paychecks, and paystubs.
- Gather evidence that shows you are a person of good moral character. This will be very important when asking a judge to let you out of detention on bond. Ask friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, bosses, and anyone else to write you a letter of recommendation and good character.
- Get a certified copy of your criminal record from each county where you have lived since moving to the United States.
- Start gathering evidence of anything else you may want immigration to know. Examples may be evidence that your children get good grades in school or play sports, evidence that you, your spouse, or children suffer from some illness or medical condition, and evidence that you are the only means of economic support for your family.
- Gather any documents that you have ever received from an immigration official, immigration agency or immigration court.
- Make copies of all of these documents and put them in a safe place
- Designate a trusted friend or family member. This will be the person you call immediately after being detained by ICE. This person should know where all your documents are and be able to access them. They should bring them to an attorney as soon as you tell them you are detained. This person will be responsible for contacting an attorney and hiring them to help you in your immigration case. You should make financial arrangements for the person to hire an attorney to help you.
2. Decide on an “emergency plan” for your family.
If you are the only guardian for your child or other children under your care, begin making a plan for their care. At Dummit Fradin, we can help you by drafting all the legal documents you need to provide for your family while you are detained. We can draft legal guardianship documents, financial and healthcare power of attorney, school and travel authorization forms and more.
3. If you are stopped or detained, know your immigrant rights!
Even if you’re not a U.S. citizen, you have immigrant rights.
You have the right to stay silent.
You don’t have to speak with an immigration official or answer their questions.
If you decide to remain silent, politely thank the officer but tell them you are using your right to remain silent and that you would like to speak with your attorney.
4. If an ICE agent comes to your home in North Carolina, do not open the door.
The ICE officer needs to have a valid warrant signed by a judge to enter your home. A deportation order is not the same thing as a warrant that allows them to enter your home, search it, and arrest you. ICE cannot legally enter your home without your permission. Ask the ICE official to pass the warrant signed by the judge under your door or show it to you through a window.
5. After you are detained by ICE, immediately ask the ICE officer to tell you what your A number is.
This information is necessary for your loved one to communicate with you, and for your attorney to represent you. During your first phone call, give this A number to your loved one.
6. Do not sign anything ICE gives you without showing it to your attorney first.
If you, your spouse, or your child are detained by ICE in North Carolina, Dummit Fradin is here to help. Our North Carolina immigration attorneys take your case seriously and will make sure you understand your rights as a United States immigrant. Contact us today to meet with an attorney in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, or High Point.