Above Photo: An agent from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency keeps watch over a house in Boston in 2006. (Michael Dwyer / AP)
The Democrats and the corporate media will breathlessly tell you how Donald Trump is a racist (he is). They’ll relay the gut-wrenching horror of having your family ripped apart by Border Patrol (I’m sure it is). They’ll let you know that keeping children in cages is not what America stands for and not who we are (it kinda is). But despite all of this, they practically never tell everyone how to actually fight back against ICE raids and Border Patrol detentions.
Welcome to the paradoxical sales pitch of the neoliberal morass—“Act like you hate racism while doing almost nothing to stop racist policies that have gone on for decades!”
The reason very few in Congress and the corporate media tell the public how to fight back against the ICE raids they claim to deplore is because the elite ruling class never wants to give average Americans (and undocumented immigrants) the idea that they can question figures of authority. These liberals think it’s feasible to basically exclaim, “The ICE raids are disgusting, immoral and unjust! The president is racist, idiotic and unethical! These detention centers are deplorable, inhumane and not neighborly! But if ICE agents or police or the FBI or Border Patrol agents come to your door, welcome them in and do everything they say so that they can more easily tear up your life. Viva la resistance!”
So here, now, are 5 steps to fight back against ICE raids and deportation.
(1) If an ICE agent comes to your door, do NOT let them in. You have the right to refuse entry unless they have an arrest warrant, which they almost never do. ICE agents are like vampires and swingers—they have to be invited in, but after that, it’s no holds barred.
The American Civil Liberties Union says that if ICE comes to your door, “Stay calm and keep the door closed. Opening the door does not give them permission to come inside, but it is safer to speak to ICE through the door.”
I find it’s better to speak to any and all authority figures through a door—even if you have to bring said door with you as you walk down the streets of your town. While holding it in front of your face, just yell, “I’m sorry officer, but I can’t hear you through this fine mesquite rustic oak hatchway with double-paned beveled glass!”
Point being, I know it may seem juvenile, but keeping the door closed and hiding under the bed could actually work.
(2) With the door still closed, ask if the agents have a warrant signed by a judge.
If they say they do, it’s going to be tempting to ask them to slide it up their ass. But don’t do that. Instead, ask them to slide the warrant under the door or hold it up to a window so that you can read it. Something you must understand is that ICE agents are tricky little fellas, and they may show you a removal or deportation form while trying to make you think it’s a warrant. (Hell, they may just hold up napkins they got with their burrito from lunch and try to convince you that’s a warrant.) But removal forms, deportation forms, dirty napkins, shiny badges, MVP jerseys, cowboy hats, fingerless gloves and semaphore flags DO NOT allow them to enter your residence.
(3) No matter how much they push you, do NOT sign anything without speaking with a lawyer.
If they ask you to sign something, you are likely signing away your God-given right to a hearing. (It’s not really God–given. It’s more of an old-white-dudes-who-wrote-the-laws-given right to a hearing.)
If agents force their way into your home despite failing to provide a warrant, don’t resist and don’t—I repeat don’t—spray them with spicy ketchup. That just pisses them off. I speak from experience.
(4) If they enter illegally, just keep repeating, “I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.”
That’s right: Even if you’re an immigrant or a refugee, you still have a right to remain silent and speak to a lawyer. ICE agents may tell you that you have no rights, but they are wrong. Something you need to know about ICE agents: They’re not all very bright. So just because they tell you something does not mean it’s true.
(5) If you are arrested, you have the right to talk to your consulate and speak to a lawyer.
Keep telling them you want a lawyer. Don’t give up. Treat it as if you were served soup at a restaurant and they forgot to bring you a spoon. Do you just give up after a minute and dunk your face straight into the steaming-hot jambalaya? No. You start getting annoyed, yelling and creating a scene until you receive a spoon and/or lawyer. (A lawyer might be a bit overkill for the spoon situation, but some people take soup very seriously.)
If you are detained by a Border Patrol agent, that’s not the same as being under arrest.
“An immigration officer cannot arrest you without ‘probable cause,’ ” the ACLU points out. “That means the agent must have facts about you that make it probable that you are committing, or committed, a violation of immigration law or federal law.”
To sum it all up, if you ever have to deal with ICE agents: Don’t talk, don’t walk, don’t sign anything and don’t open doors. Don’t help them take away your rights and separate you from your family. Also, don’t resist if they grab you, because they have large guns that they likely have no idea how to use safely.
But you should also have some sympathy for their situation. They’re not the sharpest tools in the kit, and they’re probably suffering from symptoms of steroid abuse, lack of self-confidence, insecurity, mother didn’t hug ’em, brothers picked on ’em, etc. And many of them have hemorrhoids, which they deal with by punching things. Point is, they are having a rough day too. So be cordial! (But don’t speak to them, don’t invite them in, don’t sign anything and don’t help them.)