Many immigrants are considerably nervous about the new Executive Orders signed by President Trump on January 25, 2017. We are still looking into all of the repercussions of these orders. As things become clearer, we will update our blog regularly to explain the implications of these orders. In the meantime, all undocumented immigrants should keep the following tips in mind:
- DO NOT open your door to any immigration or police officer unless you or someone else in your home called them for assistance. This is your right under the 4th amendment of the United States Constitution. It doesn’t matter why they say they are there (for example, searching for a dangerous criminal) – it may be a lie designed to get you to open your door and allow them to enter. It doesn’t matter how much noise they make or whether they seem about to break windows. If they don’t have a judicial warrant signed by a judge, you are not required to open your door or allow them into your home. See below for links to samples of each.
- If you are stopped by a police officer, DO NOT answer any questions about your immigration status, citizenship, or place of birth. This is your right under the 5th amendment to the United States Constitution. A police officer has no legitimate reason to ask for this information, and you should be suspicious if a police officer asks for it. If the officer insists, tell him/her that your attorney advised you not to answer any questions about those things, and if the officer needs to know more he or she can speak with your attorney.
- If you have been in the United States for more than two years, gather evidence that shows that you have been in the United States for at least that long (for example, birth certificates of your children, correspondence you have received in the mail, tax returns, school records, car insurance, copies of bills, medical or prescription records etc.). Carry a copy of these documents with you at all times and make an additional copy for a trusted friend or relative with legal status (see blog post below, titled, “New Disastrous Immigration Policy May Be Implemented by the Trump Administration”).
- If you are detained by an immigration officer, present your evidence of being in the US for at least the past two years, if any, and assert your right to have your case decided on by an immigration judge. DO NOT agree to be removed from the United States.
- If you are detained by an immigration officer and you are AT ALL fearful of returning to your home country, say it frequently and vigorously to any immigration officer you speak to while in detention and INSIST that you want to apply for asylum.
- Our asylum laws only offer protection from persecution based on race, religion, national origin, political opinion or particular social group. Don’t assume that your fear is not based on one of these categories!
- Political opinions don’t need to be connected to any particular political party. For example, if you participated in protests against government corruption or incompetence, or against a particular government policy, you publicly expressed a political opinion.
- Personal opinions can often also qualify as political opinions. For example, if you and/or your family has openly opposed gangs in your neighborhood, that opposition to the gangs would also be a political opinion.
- A particular social group doesn’t have to be a formal group like a labor union or a club. It just has to be a group of people who are united by some characteristic that they cannot change or should not be asked to change because it is fundamental to who they are, and whom society views as a group. For example, homosexuals are a particular social group. Women who are unable to escape their abusive husbands can also be a particular social group. A nuclear family can also be a particular social group. If someone wants to kill you just because you are in the same family as someone they hate, your family is the social group.
If you currently have a contract with one of our attorneys, and the attorney deems it necessary to make adjustments to your case based on these developments, we will contact you directly.
If you do not have an immigration attorney, please contact an attorney to discuss your options.
Keep checking our blog for updates on Executive Actions signed by President Trump pertaining to immigration matters.