Advice to AZ Immigrants: When ICE Comes Calling, Be Prepared
PHOENIX – Families of mixed immigration status in Arizona are being told to make a plan.
Under President Donald Trump's new immigration policy, just about anyone who lives in the U.S. who is not a legal resident can be deported, sometimes quickly.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are stopping people on their way to work, or when they appear for a routine meeting.
In two recent Phoenix cases, parents were detained and deported in less than 48 hours.
Abril Gallardo, program developer with the immigrants' rights group Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), says that doesn't give a family much time to react.
"They should be connected with an attorney, but also have a plan in case the individual – their family member, their loved one – is detained," she stresses.
Almost two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have lived in the U.S. for a decade or longer, and many own homes or have children who are U.S. citizens.
Gallardo says these families need to decide ahead of time who will watch the children and take care of their property if an adult family member is detained.
Trump maintains the crackdown is needed to protect public safety.
Recently, LUCHA went door-to-door through parts of Phoenix, handing out flyers and telling immigrants about their rights should ICE agents come knocking.
Their advice? Don't open the door unless agents have a warrant, and don't sign anything without talking to an attorney.
Gallardo says people are hungry for this kind of information.
"There is fear,” she states. “There is uncertainty. But I think all of that together is moving people to take action."
Immigration attorneys suggest people who might be detained should memorize important phone numbers, because ICE will confiscate their cell phone.
The group United We Dream has an emergency hotline at 844-363-1423.
In addition to hiring another 15,000 ICE and Border Patrol agents, the Trump administration has authorized greater use of expedited removals, which allows deportation of immigrants without going before a judge.