These are precarious times for undocumented residents of the United States. While Casper & de Toledo is not an immigration law firm, we recognize that some of our clients and potential clients do not possess the necessary documentation to legally remain in the United States. Please let us reassure you, if you consult us and reveal your immigration status to us, we will treat that disclosure in confidence like any other privileged communication from a client. We will not turn you in. The attorney-client privilege remains sacrosanct. Moreover, to the extent appropriate, we will refer you to a qualified immigration lawyer if deemed appropriate. The fact that you may not be in the United States legally does not deprive you of the right to pursue many valid legal claims for which we are routinely consulted, including personal injuries. That said, please be aware that deporting undocumented immigrants is a chief focus of the current administration.
There are two major immigration-related executive orders. On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed the “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” and “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” orders. The orders expand the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement of immigration laws against all undocumented immigrants and remove exemptions for certain classes or categories of immigrants. They allow law enforcement officials to detain almost every undocumented immigrant it apprehends, including those with no criminal convictions. The orders also include provisions to fast-track the removal of undocumented immigrants convicted of certain crimes or who have not been continuously present in the United States for the two years before apprehension by allowing enforcement officers to act as judge and make deportation decisions.
Undocumented immigrants do not have to answer incriminating questions from law enforcement officials, including “What country are you a citizen of?” Also, to avoid the expedited deportation process, undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for more than two years should, at all times, carry documents proving that they have been here for more than two years (i.e. lease agreement, bills in their name dated more than two years ago, etc.). If you do not currently have such documentation, you should request a copy of an old bill from the electric company or the company that provides your cell phone service.