ICE Raids: Advocacy Groups Offer Advice on What To Do if Agents Approach You

"You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to say anything or provide any information," said Ruth Lopez-McCarthy, of the National Immigrant Justice Center

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrants in 10 cities, including Chicago, is scheduled to begin Sunday, sources say.

The raids will take place over multiple days and will target at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered to be deported yet remain in the country, a source told NBC News. They will also include "collateral" deportations in which ICE agents might detain people who were not initially targeted, but happened to be there during the raids, according to The New York Times. The final details of the operation "remain in flux" for security reasons, sources said.

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So if you are approached by an immigration officer, what should you do? A coalition of immigrant advocacy organizations held a news conference in Chicago Wednesday to offer support and resources, reminding the public - undocumented or not - of their rights.

"You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to say anything or provide any information," said Ruth Lopez-McCarthy, of the National Immigrant Justice Center. "You have the right to walk away. Calmly ask if you are under arrest. If you are not under arrest, there's no reason for detaining you, then you can walk away and leave."

"You have the right to be represented by a lawyer, a right to due process," Lopez-McCarthy continued. "This administration may not believe so, but every single person in this country has a right to due process and a right to be represented by an attorney, a right to make that phone call if you are detained, a right to contact your family. That is your right, please use it, express it."

"You have the right to privacy, whether it's in your home, in your car, in the street. There needs to be a warrant for an individual to try to arrest you, especially in your home. You do not have to open the door to anyone who comes to your home if they do not have a warrant. They will find a way in if they do, so do not open the door if an official comes to your door," she added.

"You have the right to not sign anything that you do not understand," Lopez-McCarthy said. "Please make sure everybody, who you are, no matter if you're documented, undocumented, that you express these rights."

ICE agents often approach people in cars, Lopez-McCarthy said, urging people to ask any official that approaches if they are from ICE.

"ICE often wears uniforms saying they are from police so it's an important question," she continued. "If the officer says they're from ICE or refuses to identify what agency they are with, remember, exercise your right to remain silent. Do not show any identification, especially if you are a passenger in the car, you do not have to show identification."

"If an ICE officer approaches you in public, again, use that, express your rights," Lopez-McCarthy said. "Ask if you are free to go. if you are told you are being detained, exercise your right to remain silent and request that phone call, request that attorney."

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights offers five main steps on its website for those targeted by ICE. First, ICIRR says not to open the door or engage with agents but instead call your emergency contact and start recording video or taking photos. Second, if you see ICE agents, demand to see a warrant. If they force their way into your home, take their names, agent numbers and license plate numbers of their vehicles.

Third, ICIRR recommends to remain silent and fourth, do not sign any documents before speaking with a lawyer. Fifth, if you are detained, you have the right to make a call so memorize any important phone numbers.

You should also prepare an emergency plan, choosing responsible adults to care for your children and keeping important documents secure.

ICIRR also lists a family support hotline to call at (855) 435-7693, as well as a "Know Your Rights" card available to download on its website that you can hand to ICE agents should they approach you.

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