If you’ve ever been concerned with someone’s immigration status, you may have considered calling or contacting immigration authorities. Contacting these agencies is a serious matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure of the potential consequences or worried about your safety, and it’s normal to have questions about the process.
Below, we explore the following common questions: Who handles immigration enforcement? Why might you contact immigration? What happens after you call or contact them? Will your contact be anonymous? Will immigration officials arrest or deport the person reported? Will you need to testify?
Who Handles Immigration Enforcement?
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the federal agency in charge of enforcing laws concerning the admission, residence, visitation, and expulsion of people in the country illegally or without legal documentation, also known as undocumented individuals. According to its website, ICE, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was established in 2003 with the mandate to “Secure our nation’s borders and safeguard the integrity of our immigration system.”
If you’re reporting the fraudulent or illegal immigration-related activities of an individual or a business, you can contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They handle immigration-related fraud complaints, such as fraudulent asylum applications or employment visas.
Reasons Why You Would Contact Immigration
You may be considering contacting ICE for several reasons, including concerns about an undocumented immigrant in your neighborhood or to report suspicious immigration activity of a local business. You may know someone who was deported and returned to your workplace. There are several reasons you may feel the need to contact ICE, including to report reasonable suspicions of the following being committed by an undocumented immigrant:
- Human trafficking, smuggling, forced labor, or slavery.
- Narcotics smuggling.
- Weapons smuggling.
- Employment of undocumented workers.
- Government benefit fraud.
- Espionage or treason.
How To Make a Report to Immigration
You can report any of the aforementioned suspected activities to immigration by calling 866-DHS-2-ICE or contacting them online through their website. You’ll need to provide specific descriptions of any person and any information you’ve gathered when you speak with ICE. The most important data you can provide will be the person’s name and address, a description of them, where you’ve seen them, and any actions you’ve observed personally, not what you’ve heard.
If you believe an undocumented immigrant has committed a crime that violates Nevada state law, contact your local law enforcement or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
What Happens After ICE Is Called or Contacted?
Not every tip will be looked into because ICE has limited resources. Investigations into undocumented people who’ve committed crimes, posed security risks, or otherwise presented a threat to American society are given top priority by ICE. Depending on the specifics, ICE may decide to look into your report more thoroughly.
First, they’ll confirm that the person you’re reporting is, in fact, an illegal or undocumented individual. If the person you report is an American citizen or legally residing in the country, ICE won’t take any action against them. Immigration officials may refer the case to local law enforcement or another federal agency, depending on the details.
For example, suppose the person you’re reporting is undocumented. In that case, ICE agents can use “prosecutorial discretion,” which requires them to investigate each specific case, including the allegations and the person’s or family’s circumstances, community ties, and work history, to determine whether to start removal or deportation proceedings or press criminal charges against them.
Is Contacting Immigration Anonymous?
You can choose to remain anonymous when you make your report to immigration. Whether you file your statement online or call the tip line, you don’t have to provide your name and contact information.
Will the Person Reported Be Arrested or Deported?
Immigration officers have the right to detain undocumented people who’ve violated immigration laws or regulations and are likely to flee before a warrant can be obtained for their arrest, according to INA 287(a)(2). At any time, they’ve got the right to detain and arrest people at their homes, places of business, parks, stadiums, and various other locations.
Once ICE agents have detained someone, they’ll investigate any possible violations of immigration laws or regulations before deciding whether to release them, set a bond, keep them in custody, or start deportation proceedings. This decision is based on several factors, including the following:
- The individual’s local familial responsibilities and connections.
- Their financial ability to post bond.
- How they entered the U.S., and their length of time here.
- Any prior arrests, convictions, and appearances at court hearings.
- Any immoral acts or provocative behavior.
- Their membership in a community or religious organization.
Deportation is a long and complicated process that frequently takes months or even years. The length of time before a person is deported is determined by the unique circumstances of each case, such as the charges, any defense they may present, and their country of origin or where they’ll be deported to. However, ICE prioritizes the deportation of certain undocumented individuals, especially those who fall into the categories that follow:
- Pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, such as undocumented individuals convicted of felonies, including aggravated felonies, and those convicted of three or more misdemeanors.
- Recently entered the U.S. illegally and were detained at the border or other ports of entry.
- Are fugitives or otherwise obstructing immigration controls.
Will You Need To Testify?
Whether you’ll be called on to testify depends on whether you make an anonymous report. If you make the report and provide your contact information, you may be required to make a statement and testify if the person’s case is brought to court.
How De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers Can Assist With Immigration Matters
At De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers, our distinguished lawyers have a wealth of knowledge in every area of immigration law. We understand that these problems can be extremely challenging, demanding, and draining. Our De Castroverde team can assist you or a loved one with your immigration law needs, whether it’s an adjustment of immigration status or you’re in danger of deportation. Contact us online or call 702-620-9897.