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Mexican and Central American Asylum Seekers Ask,

Mexican and Central American Asylum Seekers Ask, "What do Obama's ICE Raids Mean for Me and My Family?"

DHS’s Christmastime announcement that ICE would begin arresting Mexicans and Central Americans with deportation orders has sown fear and confusion among immigrants and their families. Today, DHS is reporting ICE immigration raids against vulnerable women and children asylum seekers ordered deported but who are too scared to go back.

Deporting these families shocks the conscience. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and many parts of Mexico are scene to some of the worst violence taking place around the world. Even if some of these families failed to meet the technical requirements for asylum, now is not the time to send them back.

DHS’s announcement and its raids in Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia have bred deep worry and misunderstanding about whom precisely ICE will be targeting for deportation. The following Q&A aims to clear up this confusion.

Q: Which immigrants are covered by the ICE deportation announcement?

A: As set forth in DHS Secretary Jeh C. Johnson’s January 4, 2016 Press Release, the raids are targeted against adults and their children 1) caught by DHS after May 1, 2014 crossing the southern border illegally, 2) who were issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, and (3) have exhausted appropriate legal remedies, and have no outstanding appeal or claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under our laws.

Q: I am from El Salvador and was caught with my 11 year-old son trying to cross through Texas illegally without papers in 2008. We were ordered deported by the San Francisco immigration court in 2010. Will ICE be coming to our home to deport us?

A: Because you were apprehended in 2008, the policy does not affect you.

Q: I am from Guatemala and arrived in the U.S. at San Francisco on a student visa on January 2, 2011. I violated my status on July 1, 2014, and was ordered deported by the Los Angeles immigration court in December 2015. Will ICE be coming to my home to deport me?

A: Because you came in on a student visa and were not apprehended on the Southwestern Border, the policy does not affect you.

Q: I am from Honduras and was caught trying to enter the U.S. on August 5, 2015 with my wife and child near Nogales, Arizona. We lost our immigration court case and we were ordered deported by the San Diego Immigration Court on November 20, 2015. We are now appealing to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and are waiting for a decision. Will ICE be coming to my home to deport me?

A: Because your deportation case is on appeal, your removal order is not “final”, and therefore the policy does not affect you.

Q: I am helping a 13 year-old girl from El Salvador who was caught on May 30, 2014 trying to enter the U.S. near Harlingen, Texas. She never went to court and is under a final in absentia order of removal. Will ICE be coming to deport her?

A: Probably not. Even though she entered after May 1, 2014, the strict terms of the policy are to target adults and their children, and not unaccompanied children alone.

On a separate note, it would be worth speaking to an immigration attorney about reopening the in absentia order. DHS in many cases put in place inadequate safeguards to ensure that minors fully understood the requirement to attend their immigration court hearing and their reporting requirements with DHS.

Q: I am from Honduras and have lived in the United States since 1999 after overstaying my tourist visa. I am married to a US citizen and have 2 US citizen children ages 5 and 8. I have a conviction in California for DUI and for domestic violence against my ex-girlfriend. I have never had problems with ICE or immigration, finished my sentence and paid my fines. Will ICE be coming to deport me?

A: Maybe. Although you don’t fall under the new announcement, your law enforcement history may place you under the Johnson DHS enforcement priority memo. If DHS learns of your criminal convictions, ICE may come looking for you. Consulting with an immigration attorney before it’s too late would be an excellent idea. There may be relief because you are married to a US citizen and you entered the US legally on a tourist visa.

Q: What should I do if ICE comes to my home?

All persons in the US regardless of immigration status enjoy basic Constitutional rights:

  • You have the right to keep your doors closed and your home off-limits to ICE unless ICE shows you a judicial warrant (passed under the door) allowing agents to enter your home to conduct a search.
  • You have the right to remain silent and not answer questions.
  • You have the right to refuse to sign any document ICE puts before you.
  • You have the right to ask for an attorney at your own expense.

The Law Offices of Daniel Shanfield – Immigration Defense PC will continue to monitor developments under the Johnson DHS deportation announcement.

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