Cornell Law Professor on Upcoming Immigration Raids: What you should do

Cornell University Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr, co-author of a 21-volume immigration law treatise, identifies what immigrant families worried about upcoming immigration raids should do:


Contact Yale-Loehr at 607-379-9707 or SWY1@cornell.edu.


“News reports indicate that the Trump administration plans to start raids in several major U.S. cities this weekend to round up and deport thousands of undocumented families. While the administration certainly has the right to deport people with legitimate final deportation orders, many of those orders may be subject to challenge.


For example, given the inefficiencies in the immigration court system, many people may have been ordered deported illegally because the immigration agency didn’t have their correct address to notify them about their immigration court date. In such cases, they may have the right to reopen their immigration case.


Also, the immigration agency may pick up other immigrants not subject to final deportation orders because they happen to be in the same area as someone the agency is looking for. And families may be separated because of the raids.


Immigrants, even if they are illegally in the United States, have certain constitutional rights. Immigration agents are not legally allowed to forcibly enter a home. Immigrants can refuse to open the door when an agent approaches, unless the agents have a valid search warrant. 


Immigrants worried about being detained or deported should do the following:

  • Know your rights.  Several organizations have know your rights information in several languages.  See, for example, https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/.

  • Consult with an immigration lawyer to see if you can contest a final deportation order or reopen your case.

  • Prepare for possible detention or deportation by talking with your children and neighbors.

My immigration technology clinic at Cornell Law School has developed an automated online interview tool to help people worried about being detained or deported.  It can help people prepare their family, manage their property, close out their bank accounts, etc. The online tool is available in both English and Spanish at https://www.immi.org/en/Home/make_a_plan.

Similarly, the New York State Youth Leadership Council has prepared a safety video for immigrants worried about being detained or deported.  The English language version is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE4DBxFixBc; the Spanish language version is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIoA8w0EliU.

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