IF YOUR CASE IS PRE-1995 AND THE INDIVIDUAL HAS NOT YET BEEN DETAINED, HERE'S WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREPARE YOURSELF:
Many families have been inquiring about how to prepare for a check-in visit with ICE. Below are a few things you should do or keep in mind prior to the visit so it goes as smoothly as possible.
A) Get your paperwork in order
Ask the client to gather materials to prove that you came before 1995, if that is your situation. This can include: Green Card (or copies of it), your I-94, documents from the refugee time-period, passport stamps, and visas. Other items that can help pinpoint admission dates include other government-issued IDs, such as driver’s license, bank records, school records, medical records, arrest and criminal records – all and any that date before July 12, 1995.
If you do not have anything, including no I-94, then submit a Freedom of Information Act application (also called FOIA) to Customs & Border Patrol. The G-639 is for United States Customs and Immigration Service(USCIS) records. USCIS may forward the FOIA request on to CBP, but an I-94 record should be housed with CBP rather than USCIS. Here’s a link to the CBP FOIA webpage:
If you need help filling out the FOIA form, contact VietLead and we can help you for a small fee. If you are detained, you can send those files to the head of your ICE department where you are (or we – VietLead – can write an advocacy letter on your behalf).
B) Don’t go to your check-in alone
Having your family, friends, or other advocates accompany you to your check-in is a good way to record what happens when you meet your ICE officer. In the case that you are detained, these individuals should know what to do on your behalf. Be ready to record your encounters with ICE!
C) Make family safety plans
Your family should know what to do in case someone has been detained by ICE. This includes creating a list of phone numbers of family members, social service providers, legal service, and other advocates to call. Also think about:
General Power of Attorney: This legal document gives authority to your spouse or another person you choose to make decisions for you in the event you are separated. For example, with a signed power of attorney document, your spouse could sell your car even if the title is in your name.
Authorization for Temporary Guardianship: This legal document will help you prepare for long-term separation. Consider selecting a family member or trusted friend to serve as a temporary guardian for your children. As guardian, this person will be able to make decisions to care for your children and communicate with their school. You will need to copy and complete the form for each of your children.
United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) Form G28: This form allows you to secure legal representation before you need it. You will sign it, but an attorney does not have to sign it at the same time. If you are arrested, the form signed by you makes it easier for an attorney to meet with you. (https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/g-28.pdf)