Hoping for a miracle:
El Pregonero, News Report, Andrea Acosta, Translated by Elena Shore, Posted: May 01, 2007
In light of the series of raids being carried out in the metropolitan area by immigration agents in recent months, the organizations Casa de Maryland (Maryland House) and Detention Watch Network have written a guide to protect immigrants. Among the recommendations, they emphasize the following:
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED
• You have the right to remain silent.
• Don’t lie.
• Just say: “I need to talk to my lawyer.”
IF YOU ARE UNDOCUMENTED
• Don’t give them any information about your immigration status.
• Don’t give them false documents and don’t carry documentation from another country.
• Giving them your name or foreign documents could be used to start a deportation process against you.
IF THE POLICE COME TO YOUR HOUSE
• Don’t open the door. Ask them to pass you their warrant under the door.
• You have the right to see the warrant. It should include the signature of a judge and the areas of the house they can search.
• If the agents enter your house without a warrent, write down their names and identification numbers. Tell them they don't have your consent to enter. Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
IF IMMIGRATION AGENTS COME TO YOUR WORK
• Agents have to present a warrant or have the permission of the employer to enter.
• Don’t run. This could make it look as if you have something to hide.
• Remain calm.
IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN THE STREET
• If they stop you in the street without a written warrent, they can only arrest you if the agents have evidence that you are not a citizen.
• Don’t tell them your immigration status or where you were born.
• Don’t carry false documents or documents from your country.
• Write down the name of the agent, agency (FBI, Police Department, ICE), badge and identification number.
• Don’t sign any document before speaking with your lawyer.
• Contact your family, a lawyer, your union and your consulate.
• Carry all of these numbers with you. You have the right to make a phone call.
• Ask them to pay your bail and give them a copy of your “Notice to Appear”
(the document that contains immigration charges).
• The police have 48 hours (not including weekends and holidays) to charge you before they release you (immigration authorities can have an additional 48 hours). If they don’t release you, call your lawyer or community organization.
• Carry a piece of paper with you that says, in English: “I want to talk to my lawyer.”
• Make a plan with friends and relatives in case of a raid. Make sure you arrange beforehand who is going to take care of the children and elderly, who is going to pay the bail, deporation costs, and the rent or mortgage.
• If you suspect that a relative has been detained, call (202) 305-2734 to locate him or her. They will ask you for the name, date of birth and identification number (it begins with an A and is included on the green card and on your work visa).
• Keep your immigration papers, birth certificate and passports in a safe place and make sure a relative knows where they are.