ICE Targeting Sponsors of Unaccompanied Children

As part of the administration's announced plans to target parents and family members of children who entered the U.S. without permission DHS issued a memorandum directing ICE and CBP agents to enforce "...immigration laws against any individual who-directly or indirectly-facilitates the illegal smuggling or trafficking of an alien child into the United States." Specifically, the memo targets "parents and family members of these children."

In response to this memorandum, federal prosecutors have started prioritizing criminal prosecutions of sponsors of unaccompanied children for enforcement actions. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has reports of ICE undertaking these enforcement actions in Tennessee, New York, Colorado, and New Mexico. AILA reports ICE is questioning the sponsors about the circumstances of the child's entry into the U.S. and detaining the sponsor in some of the reported cases.

Remember all people living in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, have certain U.S. Constitutional rights.

If you are undocumented and immigration (ICE) agents knock on your door, you do not have to open the door or let the officers into your home unless they have a valid search warrant signed by a judge. An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant. If this is the only document they have, they cannot legally come inside unless you verbally agree to let them in.

You do not need to speak to the immigration officers or answer any questions.

If you choose to remain silent, say so out loud. You may refuse to show identity documents. Do not show false documents and do not lie.

If you are detained or taken into custody, you have the right to immediately contact a lawyer

Even if you do not have a lawyer, you may tell the immigration officers that you want to speak to a lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, ask an immigration officer for a list of pro bono lawyers. You can refuse to sign any/all paperwork until you have had the opportunity to speak to a lawyer. If you choose to sign something without speaking to a lawyer, be sure you understand exactly what the document says and means before you sign it.

About Litwin & Smith

Our Bay Area immigration law attorneys are focused on meeting our clients' needs and objectives, whether they are foreign nationals seeking temporary or permanent residence in the U.S., or employers needing assistance in sponsoring an employee or individuals sponsoring a family member for a visa. We explore all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa options to provide clients with the most efficient and effective strategy to obtain their goals.

Contact an experienced immigration law attorney at Litwin & Smith. Led by a certified specialist in immigration, our team of immigration and naturalization attorneys can assist you and your family with all of your business and personal immigration needs.