Many of our clients have asked me what they can do to be prepared in case the worst happens: an arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). There are a few things I would like you to know.
First, it is a good idea to have a Power of Attorney prepared which will give someone you trust completely the power to manage your finances, property, and belongings if you are detained or out of the country. The Power of Attorney document will enable the person you select to make transactions and decisions as if he or she were you. Even more importantly, if you have children you should have documents prepared that will enable a trusted person to enroll your children in school, give consent to medical procedures, and travel with them.
If you are worried about how your affairs will be handled or who will care for your children, ask your attorney if he or she can prepare these documents for you.
I also urge you to prepare an emergency file containing all contact phone numbers for family, child caregivers, and the immigration attorney of your choice, medical information for yourself and your children, and absolutely every immigration-related document you have ever possessed.
Under the Department of Homeland's Security most recent memos, the power of expedite removal is being expanded, which means that an undocumented person can be immediately removed from the United States without even seeing a judge if the person is unable to prove having lived in the United States for at least two years. For this reason, it is imperative that you carry documents showing you have lived here for at least two years with you. Place them in the glove compartment of your car or whatever container you carry with you on the street. These documents could be tax returns, bank statements, school transcripts, anything that shows you have been here for two years. If you have a petition or application pending, carry a copy of the receipt as well.
If officers come to your home, you do not have to let them enter unless they show you a warrant that specifically allows them to enter your home. You should ask them to pass the warrant under the door before you open it. You do not need to answer their questions but can instead ask that your attorney be present. You should not sign anything unless your attorney advises you to do so.
This is not a full list of the things to do or not to do. If you have any doubts about steps you plan to take, consult with me a licensed immigration attorney.