What you should know if immigration raids happen in your community

Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu had words of reassurance to undocumented residents, promising that they would be protected by a city that welcomes immigrants.

“We don’t want anyone fearful or scared to drive. This is your country. Don’t be scared. Fear is the beginning of hysteria. The city of Los Angeles will fight on your behalf. Numerous law firms are giving pro bono services. You have rights, and you can act accordingly,” Ryu said in a March 9 press conference.

In the wake of raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, legal advocacy groups in Los Angeles County urge Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to know and assert their rights regardless of immigration status. This strategy would slow deportation proceedings and afford people the opportunity to connect with legal assistance.

There are 130,000 undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants in Los Angeles County.

Although permanent residents and DACA recipients are not the target of recent raids and deportations, they should follow the same recommendations given to undocumented residents. People should exercise their right to remain silent and ask to consult with their lawyer. During any interaction with law enforcement, remain calm and do not run away.

“If ICE comes to your home, they should identify themselves. ICE has no right to enter your home without a warrant. Keep your door closed and ask them to put [the warrant] under your door so you can see it first,” immigration attorney Martha Ruch said. “Ask, ‘what it is about? Am I being detained or free to go?’ We must stop this line of questioning and assert that we don’t have to share this information.”

Those at risk for deportation should prepare a safety plan if a raid happens at home or in the workplace. People should carry documents that show U.S. residence and avoid documents like passports that reveal immigration status, recommends Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. The civil rights group also advises people to memorize important phone numbers and store important documents in an accessible place for a family member to retrieve.

Immigrant rights advocates encourage people to document and immediately report any raid they witness in public spaces and record with consent or at least openly in private spaces.

“Show the impact [of raids] on families. Report that back and lift up those constitutional rights. Make sure individuals are safeguarded. Build up momentum to resist mass deportations,” said Apolonio Morales, from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of LA.

Advancing Justice-Los Angeles can provide in-language assistance to people who are concerned about their immigration status and want to protect themselves from deportation.

“We oppose a society where we have to carry legal documents. That’s bad for safety, that’s bad for the community. If you are stopped, let us know. We will challenge it,” executive director Stewart Kwoh said.

To schedule an appointment for immigration or citizenship related services, please contact immrelief@advancingjustice-la.org or call Advancing Justice-LA’s toll-free in-language helplines: 

Chinese(800) 520-2356 Korean: (800) 867-3640 Tagalog: (855) 300-2552 Thai: (800) 914-9583 Vietnamese: (800) 267-7395 Khmer: (800) 867-3126 English: (888) 349-9695

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