Immigration is definitely a hot topic. Immigration is also complex, and often confusing process.
Federal immigration law determines if a person is an alien and the rights, duties, and obligations associated with being an alien in the United States. They also establish how aliens gain residence or citizenship within the United States. The U.S. Congress has control over all immigration-related regulations, while the White House is in charge of enforcing immigration laws.
Schulze Law can assist with any and all immigration issues—whether related to visas, deportation, or citizenship. We can help with visa application; obtain permanent resident status for foreign-born spouses or other foreign-born family members; ardently defend against deportation; and help temporary visa holders such as students change their status or extend their stay.
At Schulze Law, we are ever learning—staying on top of the very latest in the field so that we can best protect and fight for our clients’ rights.
Here are some statistics about illegal immigration in the U.S according to Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank.
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has stabilized in recent years after decades of rapid growth. The origin countries of unauthorized immigrants have shifted, with the number from Mexico declining since 2009 and the number from elsewhere rising, according to the latest estimates.
Check out these five facts about the unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S:
- There were 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014, a total unchanged from 2009 and accounting for 3.5% of the nation’s population
- The U.S. civilian workforce included 8 million unauthorized immigrants in 2014, accounting for 5% of those who were working or were unemployed and looking for work, according to new Pew Research Center estimates.
- Mexicans made up 52% of all unauthorized immigrants in 2014, though their numbers had been declining in recent years. The number of unauthorized immigrants from nations other than Mexico grew by 325,000 since 2009, to an estimated 5.3 million in 2014. Populations went up most for unauthorized immigrants from Asia and Central America, but the number also increased for those from sub-Saharan Africa.
- Six states accounted for 59% of unauthorized immigrants in 2014: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.
- A rising percent of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade. About two-thirds (66%) of adults in 2014 had been in the U.S. at least that long, compared with 41% in 2005.
We rely on law enforcement to keep us safe and treat us all fairly regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. As long as you are within the borders of the United States, you have rights. By better understanding those rights and how immigration laws are enforced, you are more equipped to protect yourself and the ones you love.
According to https://www.ice.gov, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety. ICE was created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the former U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. ICE now has more than 20,000 employees in more than 400 offices in the United States and 46 foreign countries. The agency has an annual budget of approximately $6 billion, primarily devoted to two operational directorates — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). These two operational directorates are supported by Management and Administration (M&A) and Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) to advance the ICE mission.
Here are updated tips according to The National Immigration Law Center for interacting with law enforcement agencies (like ICE) and understanding your rights.
When can Immigration enter my home?
Immigration officers cannot enter your home unless they have a “warrant.” A warrant is a document issued by a court or government agency. There are two types of warrants. One for when they are coming to arrest you, and one for when they have permission from a judge to search your home. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can issue arrest warrants, but only a court can issue a search warrant.
- If an officer knocks on your door, do not open it. Ask the officer to please identify himself. For example you can say, “Who are you with?” or “What agency are you with?”
- The officer may be with the “Department of Homeland Security” or “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement” or another agency. Regardless of how the officer identifies himself, be sure to keep the door closed. Through the closed door, ask the officer if he has a warrant.
- If he says, “yes”, still do not open the door. Ask him to show you the warrant by slipping it under the door.
- Examine the warrant by looking for your name, your address and a signature. This can help you decide whether or not the warrant is valid. The warrant will likely be in English. If you have difficulty reading it or understanding it, try to get someone else in your house to help you read it or translate it.
- If the warrant doesn’t look valid, you should return it under the door and say it is incorrect.
- If the warrant the officer shows you looks valid, look to see if it was issued by a court or by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
- If the valid warrant was issued by a court and authorizes a search of your house, you should let the officer in the house.
- If the valid warrant looks like it was issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but not a court, you have the right not to let the officer into your house. If the warrant authorizes your arrest but not a search of your house, you may want to go outside to meet the officers but not let them in the house. This is especially important if you live with other people who might have immigration problems. Once you allow the officer into your house, he can ask questions of anyone else who is there, too.
- If you do talk to the officer (again, outside your house!), don’t answer any questions. Do not sign any papers. Tell the officer you want to talk to a lawyer from Schulze Law before you say anything. Do not provide any kind of identification documents that say what country you are from. Make sure never to carry any false documents with you at any time.
- Remember, another way an immigration officer can enter your home legally (besides if he has a valid warrant) is if you give the officer permission to enter. This is referred to giving the officer your “consent” to enter your home.
- If you open your door, or if the officer asks if he can come in and you say, “yes”, you are consenting to them entering your home.
- The best thing to do is to keep the door closed and ask the officer to identify himself. Then ask to see a warrant. Do not open the door if he cannot show you a warrant.
- An officer is not allowed to force you to consent to his entering your home. For example, if your house is surrounded by Border Patrol or Immigration cars with their lights flashing, and the officer is holding his gun as he asks for permission (your consent) to enter your home, and you say, “yes”, because you’re afraid, a court would probably not consider this to be valid consent.
How can I protect myself if Immigration comes to my house?
If you hear that Immigration has been asking questions about you at your job or if you learn that Immigration is conducting an investigation at your job, it is possible that officers may show up at your house.
- Make sure that someone you trust knows where you are, and that you know how to reach them in case of an emergency (if you have been detained by Immigration).
- You and your family or close friends should have the names and phone numbers of good immigration attorneys posted near the telephone at home so that they can call the attorney in case you are detained.
- In general, it is also a good idea to keep a copy of your important papers (birth certificate, any immigration papers, etc.) at the home of a friend or relative whom you trust and can call in case you are detained.
What should I do if Immigration comes to my workplace?
Immigration officers are not allowed to enter your workplace without permission from the owner or manager. If an officer does get permission, the officer is free to ask you questions about your immigration status.
- You have a right to keep silent. In most states, you don’t even have to tell the agent your name. Although you may want to provide your name only so your family or attorney can locate you.
- You also have the right to talk to a lawyer from Schulze Law before you answer any questions. You can tell the officer, “I wish to talk to a lawyer,” in response to any question the officer asks you.
- You don’t need tell the immigration officer where you were born or what your immigration status is.
- You do not have to show the officer your papers or any immigration documents. If the officer asks you for your papers, tell the officer, “I want to talk to a lawyer.”
As criminal attorneys, we are uniquely poised to assist with immigration matters. Our experience with criminal law helps us navigate the intricate intersection of criminal charges and potential deportation. Our extensive background in criminal law also adds to our knowledge of child custody issues and family law.
If you are dealing with immigration issues, contact Schulze Law today. We are here for you so that you can fully understand the complicated processes, resolve your issues quickly, and have realistic expectations for end-results.
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