It's no secret that Donald Trump promised to take an aggressive approach against illegal immigration while on the campaign trail, and now that he has been sworn in as president, many immigrants in Texas and elsewhere are understandably anxious.
There have been numerous reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun massive roundups of undocumented immigrants in various cities throughout the country, including reports of raids, vehicle checkpoints and random ID checks in Central Texas.
However, officials from the U.S. and Mexican governments say that these reports are largely untrue and that reports of recent apprehensions -- including at least 160 people who were detained over dive days in California in early February -- were part of a routine "enforcement surge" and were not tied to President Trump.
The consul general of Mexico in Austin, Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, told the New York Times that the reports of massive round-ups "false, dangerous and irresponsible."
At a press conference last week, he admitted that there were 44 Mexican nationals detained in the Austin area on February 9 and 10, which is higher than normal. He also said that while ICE is looking for people who have violated a deportation order, or have a have a DWI- or domestic violence-related warrant, others have been detained for being "in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The good news is that everyone in the United States, including people who are here illegally, have rights under the Constitution and there are attorneys and advocates who are ready to defend those rights.
Your rights when questioned by ICE
The American Civil Liberties Union has been actively making sure that immigrants are aware of their rights I these stressful times. The advocacy group recently put out an informative bulletin on what to do if ICE agents show up at your home, which includes:
- Don't open the door. Stay calm.
- Don't let them in without a warrant signed by a judge.
- If they force themselves in, do not resist and exercise your right to remain silent.
- If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer immediately. Call a lawyer who can help you.
Finding a lawyer who can help
As the ACLU pointed out, it is essential to have an aggressive lawyer on your side when facing removal, deportation or immigration-related criminal charges. At Sergi & Associates, P.C., in San Marcos, we have an attorney dedicated to immigration law who is ready to stand up for your rights and your future.