Being Prepared for Arrest or ICE RAIDS

Revised: 6/12/2024

Considerable anxiety surrounds the news of increased immigration enforcement raids. But in times of heightened anxiety, information is power. This information will help and these sources will help. Please remember this is not legal advice.  Everyone must evaluate their own options.  But this is a good start in being informed and prepare.

Getting Legal Help

  • Evaluate options with an immigration attorney or accredited representative. A good place to start that search is the local bar association. The  Maryland Attorney General’s office provides some useful considerations for selecting assistance in immigration law.The US Department of Justice has a list of organizations and representatives that are accredited. Maryland list is hereCASA of Maryland may be able to help find free legal assistance
  • Make sure the person giving immigration advice knows what they are talking about. In the U.S., notarios are not qualified to offer legal advice. Ask all attorneys about their qualifications. The attorney will understand why you are asking them for this information.
  • Attend court dates. People who miss court and don’t have a good reason may get an automatic order of removal. If someone has been in ICE’s custody at any time, they should call the Immigration Court hotline every two weeks to find out about possible court dates. The hotline number is 1-800-898-7180 (toll-free).

Know Your Rights

  • Know what to do if ICE or the police come to the you home, the workplace, or stops you outside or while driving someone while driving on the street. The ACLU has excellent information about your rights in Spanish and English.
  • The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) has a lot of information to help immigrants.  They offer “Red Cards” which you can carry with you so that you know what to say to defend your rights without having to speak English.  They give you help to make your own Red Card that you can carry with you all the time. This is what their Red Card looks like.
  • Most people are entitled to an immigration court hearing before removal. Don’t sign immigration paperwork without speaking to an attorney. The title may not explain the effect of  signing the document and do not  assume that ICE, the police or prosecutors will give accurate information about the consequences of signing.
  • The National Immigration Law Center has helpful information about what to do if you are arrested or detained. People who have been here fewer than two years may be at more risk of “expedited removal” (removal without a court hearing) and should be sure to consult an attorney as soon as possible.

Create a preparedness plan

  • A preparedness plan will help make sure someone’s family is taken care of while a family-member is detained. People can start gathering certain documents and information today. Plan requirements are different from state to state.So it is a good idea to start the plan by asking a nearby organization for help. Here is a  sample plan from ILRC.
  • Baltimore-based Global Refuge (formerly called Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) has excellent resources, including a safety planning toolkit.
  • Women’s Refugee Commission has wonderful resources in English and Spanish, particularly focusing on those who worry about family separation.
  • Know how to find people in custody. The federal government has a locator for loved-ones. To use it, you will need to know the noncitizens “alien” or (“A”) number. The “A” number is likely to be on any paperwork received from USCIS or ICE. Without an “A” number, the person using the locator is going to need to know exact, correct spellings to be able to identify the detained person. Some people may not be held in a federal detention center. If the person does not show up through the ICE locator, it is advisable to call certain local facilities. Here is a listed of facilities listed by state that may have detainees.