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Allen and Hodgman | Recent threats of family immigration raids more bark than bite

Recent threats of family immigration raids more bark than bite

With great fanfare, the Trump administration threatened to begin sweeping raids against undocumented families on Sunday July 13, 2019. According to news reports, these “raids” were directed against a very limited class of persons — family units that were (1) placed in an experimental expedited processing stream in Immigration Court in one of ten cities within the last year; AND (2) did not appear for their court hearing; AND (3) were ordered removed in absentia; AND (4) were sent a letter telling them to self-report to ICE for removal; AND (5) did not report. There are only about 2,000 persons in this category, out of the approximately one million persons with outstanding orders of removal.

When the smoke cleared on Monday July 14, 2019, few if any persons had been taken into custody. It is obvious that the publicity surrounding these “raids” was intended only to sow fear in the immigrant community, and to promote Trump among his anti-immigrant base. Little else was intended or accomplished by these so-called “raids.”

Of course, undocumented persons should always exercise caution to avoid unnecessary encounters with law enforcement agents, and should be aware of their constitutional rights. These rights include the right to remain silent, and the right to refuse admission to law enforcement agents not in possession of judicial warrants. Undocumented persons should also explore every legal avenue to obtain lawful status.