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“Effective immediately,” DHS shall faithfully execute U.S. immigration laws against “all removable aliens” and will no longer “exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” – this directive is from the policy memorandum implemented on February 17, 2017 based on Trump’s Executive Order signed on January 25, 2017. Additionally, it directs DHS personnel to arrest, apprehend, and initiate enforcement actions against “any alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe” has violated the immigration laws. This language makes clear that everyone is a priority and amounts to a widespread deportation plan. The Memorandum calls for a massive expansion in detention by requiring DHS to detain nearly everyone it apprehends including those with no criminal convictions.

Many illegal immigrants and green card holders are in a state of panic and fear as Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) has started to apprehend and detained individuals with final order of removals, green card holders convicted of deportable criminal offenses, green card holders charged (not convicted) with a criminal offense, illegal immigrants parole into U.S. with an order of supervisions, and illegal immigrants who entered within the past two years.

What is your safety plan? We recommend a safety plan for immigrant families and mixed status families in case of apprehension and detention. Here are steps that should be taken to establish a safety plan for immigrant families:

(1) Appoint a guardian to minor children. This should be a trusted adult who will care for your children and make decisions for your children while you are detained.

(2) Executive a power of attorney to someone who will take charge of your finances and bank account while you are detained. This person will have to pay your bills, rent, and legal fees while in detention.

(3) Safety store important documents such as passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, criminal records, etc. where easily accessible by children guardian or trusted family member.

(4) Talk to your children about your immigration status and steps they should take if you were to be apprehended and detained. Give children or trusted adult a list of important contact phone numbers of family members and friends in U.S. and abroad.

(5) Speak with immigration lawyer about your case and immigration options. If you are detained, make sure you ask to see a Judge and do not waive your right to a trial.

(6) If apprehended, you have the right to NOT SIGN any documents until you speak to an immigration lawyer.

With the exception of individuals with final orders of removal (who have seen the immigration judge), anyone apprehended and placed in deportation is entitled to due process (hearing in immigration court). Deportation is not an “overnight” process as court hearings have to be scheduled and ICE must coordinate with the deportee’s native country – making this process as long as 6 months – 1 year.

For more information on safety plan for immigrant families , email or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.

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