The largest ICE raid in Mississippi’s history is potentially putting hundreds of families in legal binds.
“The constitutional rights that we have as United States citizens if were charged with a crime anybody that was detained yesterday will have those same constitutional rights,” said Nathan Elmore an immigration attorney at Elmore & Peterson Law. “Those would include the right not to speak the right to have an attorney obviously anything they say can be used against them.”
For those detained and released lawyers say they will have to appear in court if they are unable to prove citizenship.
“They’ll receive what’s called an NTA , a notice to appear and they’ll probably have to go to court either in New Orleans or Memphis depending on where they live and give an answer— it’s essentially a legal charge,” Elmore said.
Lawyers say if you don’t have status but applied for one you should keep evidence.
“It’s often helpful to have a recipient notice from immigration or something to that affect that shows hey look at least I’ve applied,” said Jeremy Litton a lawyer at the same firm.
Attorneys describe having a legal first aid kit with a storage of documents including copies of your passport , birth certificate and other identifiers.
“It’s important to have important documentation in a safe spot in your home or in a lock box or safety deposit box if you can get one with various types of identification and status documents and that’s even good for people who do have some type of status,” said Litton.
They also recommend getting legal help as soon as possible.
“Everybody that’s been taking into custody has been issued an ‘A’ number,” said Elmore. “If a family member speaks to somebody that is in custody get that “A’ number because if you go to a lawyer and you want the lawyer to help that family member they’re going to need that.”
It is also suggested from lawyers to be polite and cooperative without incriminating yourself.