ICE To Fine Illegals Up to $500K; How to Protect Rights; But Advice From Advocacy Groups Could Be Dangerous
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 6, 2019) – ICE is planning to fine some illegal immigrants up to nearly $500,000, and the advice vulnerable populations are getting from their own advocacy organizations could be dangerous, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
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More specifically, NPR is reporting that fines of up to $500,000 are already being imposed on illegal aliens for 'failing to depart the U.S. as previously agreed,' among other factors.
Unfortunately, those in the country illegally are being given advice which could increase the chances that they will be arrested and deported, and help ICE track down those it intends to hit with massive fines, warns Banzhaf.
For example, some advocacy groups are suggesting that, if ICE 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 a legalistic administrative deportation order which does not require that they be granted entry, rather than an arrest warrant signed by a judge which, to be valid, must contain 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 mere deportation order and a valid arrest warrant, especially if ICE agents banging on the door misrepresent the document, may not be very effective, and could jeopardize their rights and lead to deportations or the imposition of fines, he warns.
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. - advocacy groups might consider advising at-risk families to simply 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 misrepresentations, advocacy groups might also 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.
Whether or not individuals agree with these massive fines and deportations, everyone should agree that, if the programs are to be carried out, the legal rights of all affected must be protected. This is especially true of lawyers, 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