Donald Trump's approach to immigration policies has dominated headlines for better or worse, since before being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
The Trump administration announced Tuesday, the U.S. would rescind Obama's 2012 order that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, stating Congress should be responsible for immigration policy.
The decision is sparking outrage and fear amongst DACA recipients whose lives could be turned upside down if the program were to disappear. DACA allowed people who were brought to the U.S. by their parents illegally as children, to remain in the country as long as they were in school or serving in the military. The action deferred about 800,000 individuals from deportation.
While Congress has six months to preserve DACA through legislation, the future of the hundreds of thousands of recipients is uncertain. For most, the U.S. is the only country they know as home, and there are deep fears of deportation.
Following the decision, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to give insight into what the next steps are for DACA. According to the DHS, information provided to the agency in DACA requests will not be proactively provided to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
However, if an individual is issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) or a referral to ICE under policy set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), their case may be forwarded to ICE. It's crucial to note, simply being in the country undocumented without conditions of residency falls under a reason to receive an NTA.
Regardless of citizenship status, if you live in the U.S., you still hold rights. ICE must follow legal procedures when conducting operations.
ICE only conducts "targeted enforcement", where they are seeking an individual or individuals. ICE agents don't carry out checkpoints our random raids.
Here are some of your rights if you come in contact with ICE agents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
1. You have a right to remain silent and don't have an obligation to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with ICE agents or any other law enforcement officials. You don't have to answer questions about where you were born or how you came into the country. However, the same laws don't apply at international borders or airports and for individuals on nonimmigrant visas such as tourists and business travelers.
2. If you're not a U.S. citizen and an ICE agent requests your immigration documents and you have them with you, you must show them the papers. If you don't have papers, remain silent. Don't provide fake documents or lie about your citizenship.
3. If officers show up to your door, you have the right to keep the door closed and ask if they are immigration officers or ICE agents. You don't have to let them in if they don't have a warrant signed by a judge. Only a judge warrant is enough for entry into your home. A warrant signed by an ICE employee is not enough. If the officers do have a warrant, you can ask them to slip it under the door for you to inspect it. Officers are only allowed to enter the address listed on the warrant and search the items and areas listed. An arrest warrant allows police to enter the home of the person listed on the warrant if they think the person is inside. A warrant of deportation (ICE warrant) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent. If officers have a warrant, you still have the right to remain silent.
3. If the officers don't speak your language, ask for an interpreter.
4. If agents force their way through your door, don't resist. Just state, “I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.” Everyone in the home also has the right to remain silent.
5. If taken into custody by ICE, know you have a right to a lawyer, but the government doesn't have to provide you with one. If you don't have a lawyer, ask for a list of free or low-cost lawyers. You have the right to remain silent and don't have to discuss anything with anyone but your lawyer. Do not sign anything without contacting your lawyer or you could risk losing the opportunity to stay in the U.S.
6. You have the right to contact your consulate or ask an officer inform the consulate of your arrest.
If you feel your rights have been violated, do not challenge officers on the street, instead write down everything you remember and take photos. You can also get contact information from witnesses. If you're hurt, seek medical help first then take photos of the injuries.
You can file a complaint with the agency's internal affairs division or civilian complaint board and contact the ACLU for help.
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