What steps should I take if my loved one has been arrested by immigration?
Recently released data from the Justice Department shows that the number of immigration arrests has doubled in the past 11 years. Immigration crimes now account for half of all arrests by federal agents. Immigration crimes included illegal border crossing and smuggling offenses. These figures further do not include state level arrests, which comprise the majority of all arrests. As immigration crimes have surged, so have arrests made by the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security arrests account for 60 percent of immigration-related arrests, while the Justice Department accounted for 35 percent.
Prepare For Potential Detention
Lead by the current president, Donald Trump, and his administration, America as a whole has adopted a less accepting attitude towards immigrants in the past few months. With the number of immigration arrests rapidly increasing, immigrants across the nation should take steps so that they are prepared in the event they are detained. Immigration arrests can lead to the initiation of deportation or removal proceedings, making it imperative that immigrants and their families take any arrest seriously.
To prepare for the possibility that a family member could be arrested, you should ensure that all relatives have your phone number memorized as they may not be able to look it up if detained. Keep a copy of all of your family member’s important documents in a safe location. This may include any immigration related papers or prior criminal matters.
Take Action if a Loved One is Arrested
If your relative has been arrested but you are unsure where they are being held, you should start to contact local police and sheriff departments. If you suspect your loved one is in immigration custody, contact your local ICE office. Once you have located your loved one, it is critical that you remind them of their legal rights. Tell them not to sign anything or talk to anyone until they have a lawyer.
Your next call should be to an experienced immigration attorney. Once retained, an immigration attorney can start to take action to determine why your loved one has been detained and what steps are necessary to keep them in the country.