Protecting Legal Rights In Ice Agents Raids; Advocacy Groups Might Do More, Including Providing Additional Advice
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 22, 2019) – In the wake of President Trump’s warning that ICE will begin deporting millions of illegal immigrants on Sunday, organizations opposing such tactics are providing advice to those who might be targeted, but stronger and better warnings might be more effective, and there are also additional steps which might be taken, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
For example, some advocacy groups are suggesting that, if agents come to the door demanding entry and claim to have a warrant, residents inside should ask that the document be slipped under the door for their inspection. But, in most cases, ICE officials will have only an administrative deportation order which does not require that they be granted entry, rather than an arrest warrant.
To be valid, an arrest warrant must be signed by a judge, and also include the suspect's correct name, address, and date of birth.
Asking people who are terrified of deportation, not legally sophisticated, and who might have only limited fluency in English (much less legalize) to tell the difference between a deportation order and a valid arrest warrant, especially if ICE agents misrepresent the document, may not be very effective, and could jeopardize their rights and lead to deportations.
Since ICE agents have reportedly been known to use many ruses to gain entry - e.g., saying they are looking for a friend, searching for witnesses, or even representing themselves as police, etc. - groups might consider advising at-risk families to refuse to converse with anyone who comes to their door seeking entry, regardless of who they claim to be or what documents they claim to have, argues Banzhaf.
To avoid misunderstandings and possible misrepresentations, advocacy groups might also wish to explain to vulnerable populations how they can and should use their cell phones, not only to record whatever agents might shout through the door in seeking to obtain entry, but also how to insure that such audio recordings are sent in real time to at least one alternative storage location (e.g., in the cloud, to a server maintained for that purpose, or even to a friend, etc.) in case the phone with this vital recording is seized, damaged, or otherwise cannot be used if the legality of any entry is later challenged in court.
Asking at-risk populations to send an instant message containing their location to an advocacy group if they are visited by ICE agents, and/or observe ICE agents trying to visit neighbors, might help the groups keep track of the agents' location and possible targets, and even make it possible for members of the group to arrive on the scene to make video recordings of what occurs.
Whether or not anyone agrees with the new deportation mandate and program, everyone should agree that, if it is carried out, the legal rights of all affected must be protected. This is especially true of lawyers, he notes, since they are dedicated to protecting the rights of all Americans, says Banzhaf.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH),
2000 H Street, NW, Wash, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
http://banzhaf.net/ jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com @profbanzhaf