ATTORNEYS FOR IMMIGRANTS
February 21, 2017 | Immigration News & Announcements - Butvilas & Associates PC
Today, February 21, 2017, the administration announced guidance memos regarding border security and aggressive interior enforcement of immigration laws. Whether you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, a visa holder, or an undocumented immigrant, we recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself and your family:
If you are a Naturalized U.S. Citizen: In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any U.S. border (including the oceans), we strongly recommend carrying with you your U.S. passport, or passport card, or a photocopy of your naturalization certificate. Because of the unpredictability of the current situation, we recommend keeping a photocopy of these documents in a safe place at your home, so that if necessary, someone will have access to it. You may very well need to prove your U.S. citizenship.
If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident: Federal law requires that anyone who is not a U.S. citizen must carry evidence of their lawful status with them at all times. You should also keep a photocopy of your green card in a safe place at home so that it can be accessed by someone in case you lose your card and you need it to identify yourself. You should also renew your green card a full six months before expiration. If you have been a lawful permanent resident for five years (or three years in certain circumstances) and were hesitant to apply for naturalization, this is the time to start the process.
If you are a Lawfully Present Nonimmigrant (e.g. student, H-1B visa holder, DACA recipient, U visa, etc.): Carry with you at all times your Employment Authorization Document, I-94 card, passport with entry stamp, or other proof of lawful presence. Carry the original with you and keep a photocopy in a safe place at home.
If you are an Undocumented Immigrant in the U.S. for more than two years: Keep with you at all times evidence that you have been present for at least two years. Evidence that you might want with you are utility bills, receipts, social media posts, mail or any other documentation with your name going back two years. However, be very careful of using pay stubs if you have used false documents or information to get your job, as those are prosecutable offenses. Again you should also keep this information at home so that it is accessible to someone who can help you. Keep a photocopy at home. And make sure you have a family plan in place to call for legal assistance if you fail to return home as usual.
If you are an Undocumented Immigrant in the U.S. for less than two years: Have a plan in place on what will happen to your belongings and your family if you do not return home from work, shopping, or school. Memorize phone numbers of someone with lawful status who you can contact for emergency or when you are in detention. Make sure your relatives know they can look up your name on the ICE detainee website: https://locator.ice.gov/odls/homePage.do
If you are an Undocumented Immigrant with 10 years in the United States and have U.S. citizen children: You are eligible for a Cancellation of Removal, and release on bond. Make sure someone you know and trust has access to sufficient funds to secure a bond.
If you are a non-U.S. Citizen (lawful permanent resident, visa holder, or undocumented immigrant) who has a criminal conviction: If you have a criminal conviction, or are even arrested for a crime, ICE has begun to detain people in this category and has released only a very few on bond. If you have relief from removal, you are eligible for bond, but, depending on where you are, you may not be released. Prepare for this by saving money for bond now, and have information how to contact attorneys for help.
If you are an Undocumented Immigrant with prior deportation orders: If you have a prior deportation order and have returned to the United States, you are subject to prosecution by the federal government for the crime of reentry after deportation. Depending on why you were deported (i.e. a serious criminal offense), you can spend up to five years in federal prison for reentering the U.S. If you have a deportation order and never left, now is the time to speak to an immigration attorney and seek advice about your options to reopen your deportation case.
If you are arrested by ICE, especially if you are undocumented: Have a plan in place who to contact first. Make arrangements for someone to access your house, to pick up the kids from school, etc. Have a power of attorney prepared for someone with lawful status to access you bank account.
If you are questioned by immigration officials and you are not a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident:
Do NOT Run
Do NOT Fight
Do NOT Hide
Do NOT Resist an Arrest
Do NOT Claim to be a United States Citizen
Stay CALM and QUIET
Do NOT Sign Anything
Do NOT Answer ANY Questions or Show ANY Documents UNTIL YOU HAVE TALKED TO YOUR ATTORNEY
Always have attorney contact information handy so you or your family can contact our office immediately: (312) 580-1217.
See more of immigration news & announcements.