What You Need to Know About Immigration Sweeps

Ever since the new administration took office, many immigrants, both documented and undocumented, have been worried about their position in the United States. The Republican platform in the last election was built largely on promises of deportation and a strong sense of nationalism (the feeling of superiority over other countries). With the passing of Executive Order (EO) 13769, or Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, the current administration announced its position clearly and proved there is something to worry about.

Though the EO was put under a temporary restraining order by James Robart of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington, it created a brief period of chaos and fear across the world. At least 721 people were detained or prevented from boarding because of the order, and more than 100,000 visas for immigrants inside and outside the United States were revoked. It also did the following:

  • Suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days
  • Restricted admission from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen
  • Indefinitely suspended admission of Syrian refugees
  • Prioritized refugee claims by those of minority religions (Christians in Muslim-majority countries)

While immigration sweeps under the previous administration were consistent, the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently seem to be focusing more on undocumented immigrants with no criminal records, rather than those who have committed crimes. During the week of February 5th, for example, only 74% of the 678 people arrested during raids had been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. In 2016, raids were made up of 85%–90% convicted criminals.

There was also a leaked Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal recently, referring to a possible deployment of the Army National Guard to assist ICE in rounding up undocumented immigrants, something which the DHS promptly denied. As the current president has referred to recent sweeps as a “military operation,” people are justifiably concerned that these sweeps will escalate.

Many undocumented immigrants are preparing for deportation at any second, but those with visas might also be concerned. If they need to renew their green cards, for example, how likely is this new administration to grant an extension of their stay in the United States amid this anti-immigration fervor?

The Immigrant Defense Project has put together an ICE Raids Toolkit which immigrants can use to prepare for sweeps in their neighborhoods. However, if you’re a documented or undocumented immigrant, you might want to discuss your status with a knowledgeable immigration law attorney. He or she can explain what documents you might need in an ICE raid and how to fight for your rights in court if need be.

Contact our Nevada immigration law attorneys at (775) 574-4774 or fill out our online form to tell us about your case. We’re ready to defend your place in the United States.

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