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Arrest of Undocumented Immigrants by ICE

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018

Under what circumstances can an undocumented immigrant be arrested by ICE?

Undocumented immigrants may come to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a variety of ways, such as being arrested by a local law enforcement agency (even on a minor offense or simple traffic violation) with their names showing up on a computer database accessible to ICE, or during a work place raid. In addition, ICE regularly patrols areas within 100 miles of the U.S. international land border and may apprehend undocumented immigrants in the course of those patrols.

If an undocumented immigrant comes to ICE's attention, ICE may go to their home, work, or school. If an undocumented immigrant is already in jail, ICE may visit them at the jail to conduct an interview or may place a detainer on them. In that case, ICE's detainer will be good for 48 hours. If the undocumented immigrants are going through a criminal proceeding, ICE agents may show up at the court or the probation office.

Warning. Never miss a court date because you fear ICE.  Consult your attorney regarding the possibilities.

What happens after ICE arrests an undocumented immigrant?

If you are arrested by ICE, your first fear may be that ICE may deport you right away. That would not be the case.

The first determination would be whether you are subject to expedited removal.  The majority of undocumented immigrants arrested are not subject to expedited removal proceedings.  Instead they will be placed in a regular removal proceeding, where they can apply for a number of available remedies. See Removal Proceeding Defenses & Remedies for Undocumented Immigrants.

To see whether an undocumented immigrant would be subjected to expedited removal, see Who is subject to expedited removal.  If that is the case, things may move rather quickly.

Should I talk to ICE agents or sign the papers that they give me?

If you are questioned or detained by ICE, you should be careful about the statements you make and the papers you sign.

If you answer questions from ICE agents, you must do so truthfully.  Do not volunteer information but provide truthful and complete answers to the questions you do answer.  If you are not sure about something, have a complicated immigration history, or a criminal record, you may decline to answer questions until you have retained an attorney.  Remember anything that you say can be used against you.

Never sign documents that you do not understand, even if they are in your native language.  ICE is required to provide you with documents in a language you understand.  If needed, ask for a translator. If you still do not understand, refuse to sign the documents.  You may wait until you have retained an attorney, before taking any action on the documents.

Do not mistakenly sign documents to waive your rights or consent to removal.


Related Topics:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

ICE Detention

Release on Bond

Defenses & Remedies for Undocumented Immigrants

Expedited Removal


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