It seems that every day brings news of another crackdown from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Over the past several months, the agency has steadily intensified its efforts against immigrants. This has led many critics of ICE to express concern that the agency is becoming frighteningly aggressive toward undocumented immigrants.
A recent immigration raid—the largest in years—will do nothing to discourage this claim.
The country’s largest workplace raid
Last week, ICE agents conducted the largest workplace immigration raid in the agency’s history. Under the orders of President Trump, ICE raided a meatpacking plant in Tennessee that employed several dozen migrant workers. Agents arrested 97 people, taking 65 to a nearby detention facility and granting 32 conditional release. However, not everyone who was arrested was in the United States illegally. Several foreign nationals who possessed work visas were also arrested. Even for the intensely anti-immigration policies of the Trump presidency, a raid of this scale is unprecedented. Many of the workers who were rounded up and detained now face deportation.
Enduring a workplace raid
Immigrants who are caught up in a workplace raid from ICE are not without options. In an immigration raid, it is wise to:
- Remain calm and composed. Do not get angry or try to run away.
- Cooperate fully with law enforcement officers.
- Remain silent and do not provide any incriminating information.
- Invoke your right to contact an attorney.
Legal rights and illegal detention
Law enforcement officials are supposed to have reasonable suspicion that a suspect is in the country unlawfully before arresting them. Many reports from the raid stated that ICE agents arrested workers without asking questions about criminal activity or their immigration status. If this is true, then the immigration agents may have unlawfully arrested and detained dozens of people. These people may be able to challenge their arrest and detention. It may also be possible to challenge potential criminal charges or deportation. In any ICE raid, immigrants must know that they are guaranteed certain rights and have access to legal recourse.