In order to "amplify" the President's tough-on-immigrants campaign message and win votes, the Trump Administration is planning on conducting a series of ICE raids in "sanctuary" jurisdictions, such as California, Denver, and Philadelphia. What should you do if ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) comes looking for you? Or if you get caught up in a raid?

Before we answer those questions, I want to note that people who have pending asylum cases, or who have cases in Immigration Court, are rarely targeted for arrest by ICE. The agency's main targets are people who already have removal orders and people who have criminal issues (including very minor criminal issues). However, ICE also makes "collateral" arrests if they encounter other "illegals" in the course of pursuing their target. But unless you have already been ordered removed or you have criminal issues, it is unlikely that you will ever have to deal with ICE. That said, it never hurts to take precautions and to be prepared. So how do you do that?

First, a couple general rules to keep in mind. If you are stopped by ICE or the police, do not run away or resist. Keep your hands where the officers can see them. Be aware that in some states, you are required to give your name to law enforcement. Do not lie about your immigration status or present false documents. Trying to lie your way out of a situation rarely works, and is more likely to cause additional problems. The better approach is to inform the officers that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to contact a lawyer and/or your family. As you probably know, in the U.S., you have the right to remain silent, and anything you say to ICE or the police can be used against you in court. So the less you say, the better.

If the officers want to search you, you have a right to say no. However, if the officers have probable cause (for example, they suspect that you committed a crime and are carrying a weapon), they can search you. If ICE or the police want to search you, you can repeat that you do not consent to the search, but do not resist.

Non-citizen in the U.S. are required to carry proof of immigration status at all times (Green Card, work permit, asylum receipt, passport and visa, etc.). If an ICE officer asks for your immigration papers, you are required to produce your documents. If you do not have your papers with you, you can inform the officer that you wish to remain silent or that you wish to call an attorney. You also have a right to call your country's consulate in the U.S. (though for asylum seekers who fear harm from the home government, this may not be a great idea). You might also scan your immigration papers or take pictures of them, and keep them on your phone or in your email. That way, even if you do not have the originals, you can at least produce copies. In addition, non-citizens in the U.S. illegally (and who do not have an application pending) can be subject to expedited removal if they have been in the U.S. for less than two years. So make sure to carry proof (or have it on your phone or in your email) that you have been in the country for more than two years. If you have been in the U.S. for less than two years, do not admit that. Stay silent and ask to speak to a lawyer.

One common way people get detained is during a traffic stop. If you are stopped for a traffic violation, the police officer can require you to produce your driver's license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. Once the police have your information, they often check for outstanding arrest warrants. In some jurisdictions, they also check for immigration warrants and can detain people with outstanding criminal or immigration issues.

It is less common for ICE to come to your home, but if that happens, you do not have to let them into your house unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. You can ask to see the officers' ID and any warrant. Also, be aware that sometimes ICE officers will try to trick you into leaving your house or allowing them to enter. If ICE officers or the police force their way into your house, do not resist. Tell them that you do not consent to them entering your home, and that you wish to remain silent and contact a lawyer.

While it is probably unlikely that you will ever be detained by ICE, it is a good idea to have a plan in place just in case. What will you do about your children or other people that you take care of? Who will assist them? If you take medicine, make sure that someone can get it for you (including a copy of the prescription). What about bank accounts, vehicles, and property? You need to have someone to take care of your affairs in the event that you are detained, and that person needs to know what to do in case of an emergency.

In addition, keep your immigration and other legal papers somewhere where your family or friends can access them. Also, make sure your family members know or can find your Alien number. If you have a lawyer, your family members should have that lawyer's contact information.

You can find more information (in many different languages) about encounters with ICE and the police at the ACLU "Know Your Rights" webpage.

Finally, if you are detained, you may be eligible for release on your own recognizance (meaning you are released and required to report back to ICE or an Immigration Court at some point in the future) or on a bond (meaning you pay money as a "guarantee" that you will appear for any future court date or for removal from the country). If ICE refuses to release you or set a bond, you can ask an Immigration Judge to do that. Depending on the circumstances, judges sometimes do not have the authority to release you. But in my experience, asylum seekers are almost always released unless they have criminal issues.

In short, while it is not impossible that a person with a pending asylum case will be detained by ICE, it is rare. Nevertheless, it's a wise idea to have a plan in place and to be aware of your rights. That way, you will be ready for any eventuality.

Originally posted at the Asylumist: