ICE Raids – Will I Be Arrested Next?

By: Amanda Kwong

Immigrant communities across the nation are terrified about an ICE raid coming to their neighborhood. These raids, conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, include federal officers arresting undocumented immigrants who do not have permission to reside in the United States. Even just the word “raid” itself invokes feelings of fear and terror, but please try and remain calm. In fact, there may actually be a solution to your immigration problems.

ICE raids are targeting two different categories of migrants: those that merely do not have lawful immigration status in the U.S. at this time; and those that have previously been ordered deported by an Immigration Judge.

First, let’s discuss migrants who have never been to immigration court. This category will include people who have never had valid immigration status in the U.S., such as by entering the country without being inspected and admitted. However, it also includes migrants who did at one point have lawful immigration status that has since lapsed. This includes foreign nationals who have overstayed on their tourist visa, student visa, etc. With limited exceptions, this limited group of people cannot be nearly instantly deported from the country. Rather, there is a court process available to protect those individuals’ rights.

There are a variety of options for migrants in this category, both in immigration court and before deportation proceedings are initiated. Please review our website to read about some potential options, including cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, asylum, etc.

In contrast to those who have never been placed in deportation proceedings, those who have already “had their day in court” are in a much more precarious position. Since they have already been through the immigration court process, and thus have received “due process,” they are subject to almost immediate deportation from the United States. However, there may still be hope. Consider filing a Motion to Reopen if there has been a change in the law or your personal circumstances since you were ordered deported. But even if there has not been a change, you are eligible to request an Administrative Stay of Removal. Commonly referred to as a “stay,” this will allow a person to remain the U.S. with their family and friends for an extended period of time. A person will also be eligible for a work permit if they are granted a stay.

It is also important to note that sometimes a person is ordered deported without them ever knowing it. Perhaps they never received the notice to go to court, commonly referred to as a Notice to Appear. This failure to receive the notice may even be due to no fault of their own, such as the government mailing the required notice to the wrong address. A knowledgeable immigration attorney will be able to tell you if you were ever placed in immigration proceedings. And if so, devise a strategy on how to reopen your proceedings and get rid of your deportation order.

It is a scary time for undocumented immigrants. Doing nothing is not the answer though. Speak with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney today to find out if a green card is a possibility for you.