What Are ICE Raids? How To Prepare And What To Expect If You’re Targeted

Mass ICE raids have begun and are currently happening in cities across the nation, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and areas of North and South Carolina, according to the Spokesman-Review. These raids are a result of the illegal immigration crackdown brought forth by newly-sworn-in President Trump. Though officials are insisting that the purpose of these ICE raids is to collect and deport illegals who’ve committed crimes during their stay in the U.S., there have been reports that innocents (perhaps more appropriately described as those who have not broken the law) are also being apprehended.

ICE raids in 2007. [Image by Mark Avery/AP Images]

The ICE raids should probably come as no big surprise to those Americans who paid attention to Donald Trump’s campaign promises during the 2016 presidential election. After all, he said he wanted to deport all of the country’s illegal immigrants. People told him he was crazy; that it would never happen because it was impossible to round up and extradite some 11 million undocumented citizens.

Trump has changed his tune a bit in this regard, as after his inauguration he promised to focus on what he has established are 3 million criminal illegals in the country. However, the president also amended one of the illegal immigration guidelines put forth by his predecessor Obama, which had specified that only offenders who’d been officially found guilty in a court of law were to be deported. Trump tweaked this to count in those who’d not been convicted.

The first ICE raids of 2017 resulted in the apprehension of lots of undocumented citizens, as those collected numbered up into the hundreds, which seems like a lot but barely makes a dent in the 3 million illegals Trump wishes to round up.

As such, it looks as if ICE raids are just getting started, and this no doubt scares many people, especially those who, by no action of their own, are currently living illicitly in America.

President Trump immigration protest on February 11. [Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

It’s important to know one’s rights, even if you’re not technically an American citizen, and to know what to expect in the event of an ICE raid.

Even people living illegally in America have certain rights just for physically being on U.S. soil. If you’ve heard otherwise, it’s likely you heard opinion stated as fact, because the United States Constitution grants illegal immigrants some rights, and if the Constitution says it, you can bet it would hold up in a court of law.

According to The Hill, the second U.S. president, James Madison, who also played a huge part in penning the Constitution, wrote that illegals were to be given constitutional rights, though in accordance with it they must also abide by the laws and authority of the land.

“…that as they [aliens], owe, on the one hand, a temporary obedience, they are entitled, in return, to their [constitutional] protection and advantage.”

In addition to this, the Supreme Court has made several rulings in favor of constitutional rights for illegal aliens. At the turn of the 19th century, there were three cases of which the outcomes were essential to the rights and treatment of illegals in America. In 1896, the outcome of Wong Win v. United States ruled that anyone inside the borders of the U.S. are to be granted the safekeeping brought forth under the fifth and sixth amendments. Additionally, illicit immigrants also bear the right of “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,” if suspected of a crime, and aliens are not to be stripped of “life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

Political pundit Glenn Beck once said that the only constitutional rights not guaranteed to undocumented citizens are the right to vote, the right to gun ownership, and the right to work for the government.

Keeping all of this in mind, what is an ICE raid and what might you expect if your place of living is subject to one?

Firstly, if you think an ICE raid is coming your way, there are preparations you can take to make things go as smoothly as possible. Simply put, an ICE raid is an inspection by law enforcement officials who specialize in illegal immigration. It’s their job to investigate the presence of undocumented immigrants, as well as arrest them if warranted.

According to La Cooperativa, getting in touch with an immigration attorney is something you may want to consider doing if you haven’t already and you think you can afford one. A “know your rights” card is also a good thing to have in your possession. Part of exercising your rights is choosing to not speak to the cops or answer their questions, and asking that you would instead like to speak with a lawyer.

Something else that can help to have on hand is an “alien registration number” which begins with the letter “A” followed by seven to nine numerical digits. You should have been issued one at some point after coming into the U.S.


Remember not to expect to be unaffected by the ICE raids because you don’t consider yourself to be a “criminal,” as the latest raids have revealed that to not make a difference in people being detained.

Also important to keep in mind is that ICE agents are cops, so they will treat you like cops treat citizens and they should in turn be treated with respect to their authority. It’s in your best interest to cooperate. They are, after all, just doing their job.

The 2017 ICE raids just began and they will continue as long as President Trump has anything to do with immigration laws. No matter what you may think of illegal immigration, this is the new reality and there’s little to be done about it by the average citizen. Only time will tell how it impacts America.

[Featured Image by Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock]

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