Be Prepared, Not Scared: 8 Things Immigrants Should Do To Protect Themselves

Because of the unpredictability of the current immigration situation in the wake of President Trump’s Executive Order and due to fears about upcoming anti-immigration actions set forth at the Federal level, at the Shulman Law Group, LLC, we are advising our clients of the following steps they should take to protect themselves.  Importantly, these recommendations pertain to Lawful Permanent Residents (e.g., green card holders), Visa Holders, DACA and Undocumented Immigrants alike.  Our immigration law firm strongly believes that preparation will be the key to ensuring that immigrants are protected from unnecessary detention, deportation, and forfeiture of legal status in the United States.

1. Do not travel.  We strongly advise that all non-citizens refrain from traveling outside of the country at the current juncture and until there is more clarity regarding the travel ban and the executive order.  If there is an emergent situation where the non-citizen MUST travel, it is critical that they confer with an immigration lawyer prior to departing the United States.  The lawyer will advise them about steps to take, critical documentation to bring, and things to say should they be subjected to interrogative inquiries.

2. Do not open your door.  If someone from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should knock at your door, you do not have to open your door.  Importantly, if they do not have a warrant signed by a Federal Judge, you are not mandated or obligated to speak with them.  Contact your immigration lawyer immediately or schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer to discuss your case, your rights, and steps to protect yourself should ICE agents return to your house or place of work.

3. Do not sign anything. There are cases where ICE agents ask or coerce individuals to sign a form, called an I-407 which essentially causes the signee to voluntarily relinquish their lawful permanent resident status.  In other cases, they are pressured to sign a form, called an I-275, to voluntarily withdraw their applications for admission into the United States.  You should not sign anything without consulting an immigration lawyer.

4. If eligible, Naturalize immediately.  If you are an eligible Lawful Permanent Resident (e.g., green card holder), you should apply for U.S. Citizenship as soon as possible.

5. Renew Your Green Card.  It is recommended that you renew your Green Card a full 6 six months prior to its expiration date.  If your Green Card has already expired, renew it immediately.  It is important to stay in status at all times.

6. If you have a criminal history, consult with a Criminal Attorney.  If you have committed a crime in the past, it is important to consult with a criminal attorney who will work collaboratively with your immigration attorney to ensure that relief sought will be recognized for immigration purposes.  In certain circumstances, the criminal attorney will try to re-open your criminal case using Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) to eliminate the conviction that could have adverse immigration consequences, such as deportation.

7. Carry Documentation With you at All Times.  The Shulman Law Group strongly recommends that you carry with you at all times your documentation of lawful status, whether it be a photocopy of your naturalization certificate or your green card.  Lawfully present non-immigrants (e.g., DACA, U visa card holders) should carry their Employment Authorization documentation, I-94 cards, and copies of their passport entry stamps.  We also recommend that you keep photocopies of all of your immigration documentation in a safe place.  If you have an immigration attorney, he or she will keep copies of your documentation in the confidential files guarded in their offices as well.

8. Retain an Immigration Lawyer. Given the unpredictability of the current climate under President Trump, it is important that you seek the consultation of a reputable and skillful immigration lawyer to discuss your case, to explore the options that may be available to you, and to help advise you of ways to protect yourself.  At the Shulman Law Group, we want to protect, educate, and prepare clients in advance of any challenging situations that may confront them so that they will know their rights and how to react appropriately and in their best immigration interests.