Dealing With Post-Election Immigration Fears
If you have been worried about the substantial increase in anti-immigrant sentiment since the 2016 election, you're not alone. But you do have rights, and you can reduce your chances of a problem occurring if you take some steps now.
Always Carry Your Documents
Whether you have a green card or are here on a specific visa such as for work or school, always carry your documents with you. More states have been trying to pass identity-check laws, requiring anyone stopped by police to produce identification. While many aspects of these laws have been blocked in the courts, it is better to just carry your identification and show it when required. If you don't, you risk arrest.
Always Let People Know Where You're Going
Someone stopping you might accuse you of forging your papers. Most officers and other people will not do this, but there can always be that one person who wants to cause you a problem. That can lead to you being arrested and held for days. Instead of allowing yourself to disappear like this, always let people know where you're going and when you might be back. Even if you have the chance to call someone from jail or the police station, you might not get that call for a while. Having others know that you haven't returned when you said you would can get you help more quickly.
Always Carry Your Lawyer's Contact Information
Also have contact information for your lawyer on hand. When you do get that phone call opportunity, call the lawyer's office (or an after-hours contact number, should this happen on a weekend or overnight) to get help immediately. Do not sign anything, do not answer anything, until the lawyer gets there and talks to you. It's too easy to sign something in a panic because you just want to get out, but that could cause trouble later. For example, in 2007, a U.S. citizen with mental health issues was arrested and made to sign a form agreeing to be deported to Mexico, despite his citizenship status. You do not want to mistakenly sign something with awful fine print.
If you aren't in touch with an immigration lawyer normally, find one like Fickey Martinez Law Firm, P.L.L.C. who can help you if you get into a jam. Do not rely on friends and family to find you one after a problem has occurred.