12:30am, there’s a knock at your front door. You look out and see men in ICE jackets. Are they here for you? Was someone in your house searching for strange things on the internet? Is your neighbor up to something bad and now they want to ask you questions? They knock again.
For many homes, this scenario will be a reality starting sometime in the early morning hours of July 14, 2019. Raids conducted by ICE agents are due to begin sometime after midnight, locally—though it could start as early as midnight EST. These raids will continue until further notice. Homes and neighborhoods that will be targeted are part of unpublicized lists of places of interest. No one will know where they will show up until they knock on the door. Citizenship status aside, this will be unnerving for many people.
This is, undoubtedly, a dirty business being conducted by our own government. The President has authorized unorthodox, and perhaps even cruel, methods in an attempt to deal with the immigration issue. The fact is that anyone seeking asylum must present themselves to border patrol, or other government agents, on United States soil. These days it means presenting yourself at the border checkpoint, since many international offices of US Citizenship and Immigration Services have been, or are about to be, shut down on order of the President. This means that the immigrants are not here illegally, giving little credence to the upcoming ICE raids.
Sources within the US District Court Western District of Texas El Paso Division stated no warrants have been signed in connection with the raids. Because El Paso/Juarez is such a sizeable border community, there is a strong possibility that these raids will occur here. Recently, within the El Paso sector of border patrol, several new facilities have opened to make bed space available.
So, what should you do when ICE comes to your house?
Believe it or not, you do not have to answer the door. The safest bet is to follow the ACLU guidelines for what to do if they show up at your home. However, if you don’t have anywhere pressing to go, stay indoors after the sun goes down. ICE agents can detain and even arrest you if you do not have valid identification. However, in the event that you are outside of your home and are stopped by law enforcement, the ACLU has guidelines for that, as well.
Those with young children born in the United States should be aware that ICE will place them in foster care unless other arrangements have been made. If you have loved ones that are taken into custody, you can check the Online Detainee Locator System website.
Bear in mind, according to the American Immigration Council an attorney will not be appointed by the court for you. DO NOT sign anything without a lawyer there to advise you. You can call the ACLU for help in finding a lawyer, but their number is different for every state. Make sure your loved ones have the correct number handy, just in case. Remember that it is your right to contact the consulate of your country of origin. They could also be of great help.
These are dangerous times, my friends. Stay safe, keep your loved ones close, keep your doors locked, and DO NOT answer it for strangers.