ICE is becoming more and more active in arresting and detaining people who are undocumented, whether or not they have prior removal orders or not.


Recently the policy changed to empower ICE officers to arrest people if they cannot prove that they have been in the United States for more than two years or who have immigration court proceedings already, or have legal status in the U.S. 

To protect yourself from the possibility of being deported without going to court you should carry documents that can show that you have either:

  • Been in the US for the last two years OR

  • That you already have a case with the immigration court


It is the law to carry immigration documents

All persons who are 18 years of age or older who have valid immigration documents are required to carry them at all times. This would include a green card or work authorization card.

Collect the following documents and keep them in a safe place in order to help your case should you get arrested by ICE:

  • Power of attorney for the care of minors

  • Power of attorney for decisions on property, bank accounts, etc.

  • Passports of parents’ countries of origin

  • Children’s passports

  • Permit to travel with minors

  • Birth certificates

  • Registration of birth (document that registers US-born children before the government of the parents’ country of origin)

  • Marriage license

  • Social security cards or ITIN

  • Immigration cards and A-numbers

  • Driver’s Licenses and other ID cards

  • Copies of vehicles’ titles/registrations

  • Copy of home’s mortgage or rent documents

  • Any restriction orders entered against other persons

  • Documents showing presence in the country for more than two years (for example, medical history documents, school reports, etc.)

Create an emergency contact list for your family

Share a copy with your children and relatives, with your children’s schools and with persons of your trust.

Prepare a power of attorney for the care of the minors

In case you are detained or deported, this document allows a relative who is not a child’s mother/father to register the child in public school, make school or health related decisions and make other important decisions on behalf of the minor.  This must be updated every year. Keep the school updated with name and contact information.

Assign a power of attorney for the management of property

This is a legal document that you can use to name a relative or person you trust to manage your property and accounts and to have authority to care for your children in the event that you are detained or deported.

If your children were born in the US, apply for citizenship of the parents’ countries of origin

In the event that you have to return to your country of origin, if your children have dual citizenship, they will have less problems accompanying you. Contact your country of origin’s consulate for more information.

Find an immigration attorney you trust

Consult with an attorney so that you have a sense of what options you may have if you are detained and find yourself in immigration court proceedings. Always carry your attorney’s contact information with you. 

Avoid fraud

DO NOT use a public notary to obtain legal advice.  In the US, notaries are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice.

Talk to a lawyer or representative who is accredited before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  You have a right to request the following information from your legal advice provider: credentials, contract and how much you will pay, copies of the contract and every document filed in your case and payment receipts signed and dated by the provider in your language of choice.  Keep your original documents in a safe place at your home and give copies of the requested documents to your legal advisor.