At the Vasquez de Lara Law Group, family is at the core of everything we do, and while we are not immigration lawyers, we are here to serve as resources and help ensure that your, your family’s and your children’s rights are protected. If you have questions about protecting your family in the eyes of the law, please get in touch with us right away and we can help make sure that you are connected with the right resources for your situation.
All families, regardless of immigration status, should have a plan in place should an emergency occur. Immigrant families, however, may face additional stressors and challenges. Here are some important things to know if you are part of an immigrant or mixed status family.
What to Know About ICE
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is one of the federal government agencies responsible for deportations. However, regardless of immigration status, all people living in the United States have certain rights and protections guaranteed by the Constitution. Know your rights so you can reduce risk to yourself and your family.
Understanding Your Rights
In order to best protect yourself, you have to know – and exercise – your rights. The American Civil Liberties Union offers guidance on some important things to remember if you are ever stopped by police or ICE.
- You have the right to remain silent. Exercise this right immediately and ask for a lawyer. Do not give any explanations or excuses. Stay calm and do not resist the agents or officers.
- You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings. Say out loud, “I do not consent to a search.”
- If arrested by the police, you have the right to a government-appointed lawyer.
- If detained by ICE, you have the right to consult with a lawyer, but the government is not required to provide one for you.
- You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country.
Create a Child Care Plan
If something were to happen to you, it’s important to have a plan for your children. Find a trusted adult who can care for your child if you cannot and be sure to have emergency numbers, important contact information, any medical conditions or allergies, and other important documents compiled and saved together. It’s also a good idea to complete a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit so a non-parent relative can make decisions on your child’s behalf if you are unable to.
Lastly, be sure to also talk to your children about the plan in a way that doesn’t worry them, yet still assures them that they will be taken care of if for some reason you are unable to, even for a short period of time. Encourage all family members to memorize important phone numbers – and to learn their rights.
Keeping yourself and your family safe during any situation is paramount as is ensuring that your rights under the Constitution are upheld. For additional help and resources with important issues related to family law, get in touch with us at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group.