New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

What To Do After ICE Arrests A Loved One

Author: Deportation Lawyer Alena Shautsova

The first thing you should do is call an attorney, it never ceases to amaze me how many people wait a few days to call an attorney. The problem with waiting a few days, is that your loved one can be detained without bond, waive possible defenses to deportation without knowledge, or worse: be deported without due process and given a bar on entering the US for 3/5/10 years or permanently. A few steps to convey to your loved one when you speak to them:

  • Keep quiet! Tell the ICE Officers that you would like to speak with YOUR attorney. The keyword here is YOUR attorney, not any attorney, you already have one. When you have an attorney ICE officers will no longer question you and you will be given your due process.
  • Do not sign anything – Many times ICE officers will try to coerce immigrants into signing voluntary departure, stipulated orders of removal. Remember, these Officers are not your friends, no matter how nice they appear to be, their job is to find and deport illegal immigrants, whether they have a legal basis for remaining in the US or not.
  • Write down the name and number of the officer assigned to your case, this will save a great deal of time for your family and attorney and prevent any "fast track deportation nonsense."

If you are unable to reach an attorney, the two most important things to insist on are, seeing an immigration judge, and requesting a bond hearing. Immigration bonds start at a minimum of $1,500 and whether you are given bond or released on recognizance is determined by the following factors:

  • Local family ties
  • If you have the money to post bond and how much money you have to post the bond.
  • How you entered the United States and how long you have been here.
  • Prior arrests, convictions, and whether or not you have shown up at these hearings.
  • If you are an active and positive member of your community or group.
  • If you have a history or being a troublemaker whether arrested or not.

Depending on how your family member was discovered and arrested by ICE there are a few things to be concerned about.

A. If your family member was arrested on criminal charges, you will want to consult with both a criminal attorney, and an immigration attorney. Sometimes what is classified as a misdemeanor in criminal law, under federal immigration law will be considered a felony. Once you have a felony under immigration law, your chances of a good defense against deportation drop, if this can be avoided it is well worth the investment of a consultation. Also, please note, that after your criminal case is finished, ICE will detain you if you are not in legal status, or they deem you eligible for removal depending on the crime committed.

B. If your family member’s employer is believed to have reported them to ICE, speak with an attorney immediately. The employer may be grieved, and if the employer reported your family member to ICE because they failed to pay your family member, or your family member complained about hours, wages, work conditions etc. Unfortunately this does not protect your family member from deportation, however, bringing a law suit for retaliation can delay the deportation process, which in some cases makes the difference between legal adjustment of status, and no legal basis for staying in the US.

i. For example, your family member is reported by his or her boss to ICE in retaliation for alleging sexual harassment. Your family member has a US Citizen child, who is close to reaching the age of 21. Once the child reaches 21, your family member will have a legal basis to adjust status within the US, however as it stands that family member has no other eligibility for immigration relief.

24 July 2014
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