FAQs: Being undocumented in 2017

These FAQs provide information and recommendations that may help you prepare for life under the administration of President Donald Trump. The information in this based on what we know today. We will continue to update it with more information once we have it.

Please note that the information in this FAQ is not legal advice. Every person’s situation is different, and you should talk to a qualified immigration lawyer or a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)–accredited representative so that you can make the most informed decision for yourself.

Have FAQ suggestions? Email us via info@informedimmigrant.com

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Yes, you should go to a legal services provider who can screen you for any possible immigration options for which you may be eligible. Some resources that will help you find legal help are:
· The immigration courts’ list of lawyers and organizations that provide free legal services: justice.gov/eoir/list-pro-bono-legal-service-providers-map.
· At https://www.adminrelief.org, there’s a search engine that allows you to type in a zip code and get a list of all the legal services near you.
· American Immigration Lawyers Association’s online directory, ailalawyer.com.
· iAmerica for an online list of legal services by state: http://iamerica.org/find-legal-help.
· Immigration Advocates Network’s national directory of more than 950 free or low cost nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states: https://www.immigrationlawhelp.org.
· Immigrant Legal Resource Center has a comprehensive online client intake form: https://www.ilrc.org/screening-immigration-relief-client-intake-form-and-notes.
· National Immigrant Justice Center allows you to schedule a legal consultation by phone (312-660-1370) or email (immigrantlegaldefense@heartlandalliance.org).
· National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild’s online find-a-lawyer tool: https://www.nationalimmigrationproject.org/find.html.
· United We Dream’s hotline: 1-844-363-1423.

It is important to create a safety plan if you are worried about any interaction with ICE or possible detention or deportation. These are some steps you can take:
· Memorize the phone number of a friend, family member, or attorney that you can call if you are arrested.
· Make a plan to have your children or other loved ones looked after if you are detained.
· Women’s Refugee Commission has resources specifically for parents at risk of family separation: Make A Plan: Migrant Parents Guide to Preventing Family Separation and Detained or Deported: What About My Children? Parental Toolkit
· Keep important documents such as birth certificates and immigration documents in a safe place where a friend or family member can access them if necessary, or provide them with copies of these documents for safe-keeping.
· Make sure your loved ones know how to find you if you are detained by ICE. They can use ICE’s online detainee locator to find an adult who is in immigration custody. Or they can call the local ICE office (https://www.ice.gov/contact/ero). Make sure they have your alien registration number written down, if you have one.

These are all resources you can trust, but you should always be aware of fraudulent service providers. For community education flyers to protect yourself against immigration service provider fraud, go to: https://www.ilrc.org/anti-fraud-flyers.

You have rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. There are many organizations that have created Know Your Rights resources available in English and other languages, including:
· American Civil Liberties Union (English and Spanish)
· Immigrant Defense Project (English and Spanish)
· National Immigration Law Center
· iAmerica for Know Your Rights infographics (Spanish and English)
· National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild

Technically, DHS policy instructs immigration and border agents to avoid conducting enforcement actions at sensitive locations (with some exceptions). You can read that policy here. However, it has become unclear whether the agency is still adhering to these sensitive location policies, or whether ICE agents are now conducting enforcement actions at any location, regardless of its nature. It is important to know your rights and have a plan in place in case you encounter immigration or other law enforcement.

Locations which may still be covered by these policies include:

  • Schools, such as known and licensed daycares, pre-schools and other early learning

programs; primary schools; secondary schools; post-secondary schools up to and including colleges and universities; as well as scholastic or education-related activities or events, and school bus stops that are marked and/or known to the officer, during periods when school children are present at the stop;

  • Medical treatment and health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities;
  • Places of worship, such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples;
  • Religious or civil ceremonies or observances, such as funerals and weddings; and
  • During public demonstration, such as a march, rally, or parade.

To report an enforcement action that you believe is in violation of ICE policy, contact:
· ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) by phone (through the Detention Reporting and Information Line at 888-351-4024), by email (ERO.INFO@ice.dhs.gov) or online (https://www.ice.gov/webform/ero-contact-form).
· The Civil Liberties Division of the ICE Office of Diversity and Civil Rights may be contacted at (202) 732-0092 or ICE.Civil.Liberties@ice.dhs.gov.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from restricting your right to free speech. This means that anyone in the U.S., regardless of their immigration status, has the right to participate in political protests, marches, and demonstrations.

However, it is important that you assess the risks of any potential interaction with law enforcement and to avoid arrest by local, state or federal law enforcement under any circumstances. Before you decide whether to participate in any such actions, it is important that you consult with an attorney.

While there is no uniform definition, the term “sanctuary city” is often used to describe localities that limit the role of local police in enforcing federal immigration law, by prohibiting or limiting compliance with ICE detainers and requests for notification of a person’s release date from police custody. These policies have been adopted in over 400 communities across the U.S., because they make communities safer, protect individuals from violations of their constitutional rights, and ensure that ICE does not exceed its authority with improper arrests.

At a time of deeply fractured trust between law enforcement and local communities, particularly communities of color, these policies are widely embraced as one step towards restoring trust between immigrant and other community members who fear that interactions with local and state police could expose their loved ones to deportation.

Nothing in federal law that requires state or local police to comply with ICE detainers or otherwise do the job of federal immigration officials. As a result, cities across the country with some variation of a “sanctuary” policy, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. have publicly reaffirmed their commitment to their existing policies and have said they have no plans to change them under a new administration.

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