Protect Yourself

The human nature is strange.  Best friends often voluntarily testify in court against each other.  Relatives do unexplainable things to their closest people. Jealousy, anger, revenge, etc. are unlimited powers that can bring unpredictable results.   It does not take much for a problem to come- just a phone call to the Department of Homeland Security. So if you are out of status or in the process of adjusting your status please:
1. Do not discuss your status with anyone, but an attorney. Often in the pace of a friendly conversation you hear people sharing their problems and you feel that since you are "on the same boat" you can trust them. Even if it is so, you don’t know whether they won’t share your story with someone else.
2. Make sure that you are alone in the consultation with an attorney - no friends, co-workers, etc. If you need a translator try to have a pastor or deacon from your church, social worker, or immediate family member.
3. If someone asks you about your status, just give an indefinite answer.  Answers such as "It is not your business!" may trigger a suspicion and further investigation. 
4. Do not drive without Massachusetts Driving License
5. Stay away from loud parties, Airports and US Borders,.
6. Lately people are arrested by ICE in or near the courthouses throughout Massachusetts. Here is a summary of the CE policy/directive
regarding civil immigration arrests inside courthouses.

The directive states that courthouse arrests are consistent with longstanding law enforcement practices, and are a safe method of enforcement because individuals inside courthouses have presumably been screened for weapons. It justifies the arrests as especially necessary in jurisdictions that are unwilling to hold individuals on immigration detainers or otherwise facilitate transfer from state and local jails to immigration detention.

• Courthouse arrests target specific individuals, namely those with criminal convictions, “gang members,” national security or public safety threats, those who have been previously order removed, and those who have illegally re-entered after deportation. Family members, friends and witnesses generally will not be targeted, unless considered a public safety risk, if they are interfering with the target’s arrest or if there are special circumstances. However, we have heard of many undocumented individuals being arrested by ICE who do not fall into any of the listed categories. Moreover, a footnote in the directive states that enforcement decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, suggesting that the arrest of any removable noncitizen in a courthouse remains possible.

• Immigration arrests should focus on criminal courthouses or criminal sessions of multicourt facilities. However, when “operationally necessary” and with supervisory approval, immigration arrests may occur in non-criminal courthouses.

In sum, while suggesting that ICE courthouse arrests will only target certain categories of criminal defendants, the policy leaves ample room for exceptions. This is consistent with what we have seen since last spring. The majority of those arrested by ICE at courthouses are criminal defendants; however, the directive does not protect other noncitizens having business in both criminal and non-criminal courthouses from civil immigration arrests. It should be noted that ICE arrests have been conducted outside of courthouses before individuals go inside and thus before their criminal matters are resolved. Many of those arrested did not have immigration detainers.

Call someone who used to be  in your position and can understand you better:

  • The information you provide is confidential
  • CALL: Attorney Vassil Nenkov (508) 822-8785