The President’s proposed ICE raids that were previously scheduled for July 4, 2019, are now rumored to start this Sunday, July 14, 2019.

This enforcement action could impact 2,000 or more families in ten major cities, including:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Houston, Texas
  • Los Angeles and San Diego, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • New York City, New York
  • San Francisco, California

The Atlanta immigration attorneys at Antonini & Cohen have learned that the Atlanta ICE office has rented approximately 40 vans from a car rental company for operations to begin this weekend.

Since ICE is using rental vans rather than official ICE vans, individuals will not be able to know when ICE vehicles are in their neighborhoods. You may only see rental vans from a rental car agency.

We would like to remind the community of your rights if ICE comes to your home or place of work:

1. ICE may not enter your home unless they have a “warrant.”

A warrant is a document issued by a court or government agency. There are two types of warrant—one for when they are coming to arrest you, and another for when they have permission from a judge to search your home. ONLY a judge can issue the type of warrant that allows ICE to enter your home without your permission. ICE can issue civil warrants, but they need your permission to enter your home.

If an officer knocks on your door, do not open it. Ask the officer through the closed door to identify himself. You can say, “Who are you with?” or “What agency are you with?”

The officer might say he is with “Department of Homeland Security” or “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” The officer might name another agency. No matter what, keep the door closed.

Through the closed door, ask the officer if he has a warrant. If he says “yes,” still do not open the door. Ask him to show you the warrant by slipping it under the door.

When examining the warrant, look for your name, your address, and a signature. This can help you decide if the warrant is valid (true). The warrant will be in English. If you have trouble reading it or understanding it, get someone else in your house to help you read it or translate it, if possible.

If the warrant does not look valid, you should return it under the door and say it is incorrect.

If the warrant the officer shows you looks valid, see if it was issued by a court or by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If the valid warrant was issued by a court and authorizes a search of your house, then you should let the officer in the house.

If the valid warrant was issued by a court and authorizes your arrest but not a search of your house, you may want to go outside to meet the officers but not let them in the house. This is especially important if you live with other people who might have immigration problems, because once you allow the officer into your house, he can ask questions of anyone else who is there, too.

If the valid warrant looks like it was issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but not a court, you have the right not to let the officer enter your house.

If you do talk to the officer, do not answer any questions. You have the right to remain silent. Do not sign any papers. Tell the officer you want to talk to a lawyer before you say anything. Do not provide any kind of identification documents that say what country you are from. Make sure not to carry any false documents with you at any time.

2. The only way ICE officers can enter your home if they do not have a valid warrant issued by a judge is if you give the officer permission to enter.

Permission to enter is called giving the officer your “consent” to enter your home. If you open your door, or if the officer asks if he can come in and you say “yes,” you are probably giving consent for him to enter your home.

The best thing to do is to keep the door closed and ask the officer to identify himself. Then ask to see a warrant. Do not open the door if he cannot show you a warrant.

An officer is not allowed to force you to consent to his entering your home, so please do not fall into fear, panic, or threats.

3. How can I protect myself if Immigration comes to my house?

If you hear that Immigration has been asking questions about you at your job or if you learn that Immigration is conducting an investigation at your job, it is possible that officers may show up at your house.

Make sure that someone you trust knows where you are, and that you know how to reach them in case of an emergency (for example, if you have been detained by Immigration).

You and your family or close friends should have the names and phone numbers of good immigration attorneys posted near the telephone at home so that they can call the attorney in case you are detained.

It is a good idea to keep a copy of your important papers (birth certificate, any immigration papers, etc.) at the home of a friend or relative that you trust and can call in case you are detained.

4. What should I do if Immigration comes to my workplace?

Immigration officers are not allowed to enter your workplace—whether it is a factory, store, high rise, farm, or orchard—without permission from the owner/manager or a valid warrant.

If an officer does get permission, the officer is free to ask you questions about your immigration status.

You have a right to keep silent. In most states, you don’t even have to tell the agent your name. However, you may want to provide your name so that your family or attorney can locate you.

You also have the right to talk to a lawyer before you answer any questions. You can tell the officer, “I wish to talk to a lawyer,” in response to any question the officer asks you.

You do not need to tell the immigration officer where you were born or what your immigration status is.

You do not have to show the officer your papers or any immigration documents. If the officer asks you for your papers, tell the officer, “I wish to talk to a lawyer.”

Know the Facts—Speak with an Atlanta Immigration Attorney

Be prepared for upcoming ICE raids. It is important that you know your rights and have a plan based on facts and your family’s specific circumstances. Schedule an appointment with one of the Atlanta immigration attorneys at Antonini & Cohen by calling 404-850-9394. We are here to replace your fears with answers to your questions.

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