Monday, September 01, 2008

ICE Offers Inadequate Protections for Hurricane-Threatened Residents

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not given enough protections to assure people who need to evacuate from hurricane-threatened areas that they can evacuate or seek shelter without risking the threat of deportation. A volunteer Lucas Diaz told an AFP reporter that ICE has given written assurances that the immigration status of people evacuating the area will not be challenged. There is a lack of trust, though, in the immigrant community. Diaz also pointed out that ICE's statement does not protect immigrants against actions taken by others, such as if shelter workers decide to call up ICE.

There is also no indication in the reports that ICE will take steps to correct any incorrectly-started deportation case. If someone in ICE improperly starts a deportation case against someone evacuating the Gulf area, ICE should now promise that it will stop that case because it was improperly begun.

If all that ICE is offering is a promise that it will try not to break its policy, that would not build confidence nearly as much as promising a way to stop improperly-begun deportation cases.

If this does happen to you, you should file a suppression motion and a motion to terminate in immigration court, pointing out that ICE has essentially violated its policies and regulations. Don't be surprised, though, if ICE counsel fights you in court and tries to deport people who were improperly reported for deportation while evacuating the Gulf area.


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