How to Handle Immigration Detention

Bajadock: who is going to publish something similar for U.S. citizens living illegally in Mexico?

More than a decade after publishing a comic book showing how to sneak into the United States, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created an infographic video to advise Mexican illegal aliens in the United States how to prepare for possible detention by immigration authorities.

Titled “Recommendations in Case of Immigration Detention”, the video outlines seven steps to be taken. These recommendations are divided into two sections.

The first section, “How to prepare in case of immigration detention”, includes the following:

  1. Elaborate an emergency plan: take care of your family especially minors. If they were born in the U.S.A., go to the nearest consulate and register them as Mexicans.
  2. Research what documents you should always carry with you and keep a copy of all your documentation in a safe place.
  3. If you require immigration guidance, go to your consulate, they will give you information about reliable lawyers.
  4. Know your rights in case you are detained in your home, workplace, or on the street.

Section two, “How to act in case of immigration detention”, gives the following recommendations:

  1. If authorities come to your home:
    1. Do not run away.
    2. Do not open the door and stay calm.
    3. Do not reveal your immigration status.
    4. Ask what they are there for.
    5. Request an interpreter if you need it.
    6. Ask that they show you the warrant of arrest and/or removal through the window, check that it has your name, address, and signature of the judge.
    7. If they do not have a court order you can refuse to let them in.
  2. If the authorities enter your home without a warrant of arrest and/or removal: ask for names and badge numbers, tell them that you do not consent to the search.
  3. If the authorities detain you:
    1. Remain silent.
    2. Do not reveal your immigration status.
    3. Ask to speak with your nearest Mexican consulate.
    4. Contact your lawyer.
    5. Don’t sign anything.
    6. Find out who arrested you.
    7. Request an interpreter if you need it.
    8. Do not lie.
    9. Do not hand in forged documents

The video also reminds viewers that an ICE administrative order (Form I-200, I-205) does not give authorities permission to enter your home. It then concludes by instructing nationals to go to a Mexican consulate or call the Center for Information and Assistance to Mexicans (CIAM). The Mexican government announced the CIAM hotline as one of eleven actions to support Mexicans in the United States after Donald Trump won the presidential election.



Not only is the Mexican government not building a wall; it’s spending $50 million to beef up its legal aid to migrants who fear deportation, a response to President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

All 50 Mexican consulates in the U.S. on Friday launched legal assistance centers to form partnerships with nonprofit groups and tap lawyers to help those fearing Trump’s policies.

The diplomatic effort comes as the two countries are in a rift over Trump’s plans for a border wall. While Trump says Mexico will pay for it one way or another, Mexico says it won’t. It was also unveiled less than two weeks after new guidelines came out aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants by increasing the number of federal agents and strengthening cooperation with local law enforcement.

Miami’s Mexican consul general, Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia, said Friday that these centers would become “authentic advocates of the rights of Mexican migrants.”

“What changes today is that we are prioritizing legal matters over everything. Previously, we didn’t have the need to seek so much legal support for our people,” he said. “But now, we need to protect them against an eventual deportation.”

Mexican consulates are forming partnerships with law schools, immigration clinics and nonprofit groups that litigate on behalf of immigrants. The centers are staffed with Mexican lawyers who can refer cases to organizations or clinics. They are also reaching out to private law firms interested in taking on pro-bono work.

Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray visited New York City’s consulate Friday and called the effort “a moral imperative.”

“It is something that we will continue to do by obligation and conviction,” Videgaray said.

Consulates from Mexico and other Central American nations have been juggling numerous inquiries in recent months from migrants concerned about their fate and that of their U.S.-born children.

Zabalgoitia said the increase in requests for documents and help is “enormous,” as he pointed to a waiting room with dozens of people carrying folders of documents in need of birth certificates, Mexican passports and other identifications. “I used to sign two birth certificates a week. Only yesterday, I signed 15.”

The increasing demand comes from people like Gloria Portillo, who went to the Mexican consulate in Phoenix on Friday to renew her passport. Her visa expired three years ago, and now she is trying to start the process of becoming a legal resident after marrying a U.S. citizen but fears something could happen in the meantime.

“We’ve been here all of our lives, we have kids, and of course we’re afraid to be deported,” she said, also speaking of friends and relatives living in the U.S. illegally.

Dozens of people visited the consulate in St. Paul, Minnesota, some lining up along the walls and asking the consul general questions. In the Philadelphia mission, which also covers Delaware and southern New Jersey, daily appointments at the consulate have doubled to 400 people, Consul General Alicia Kerber-Palma said. Near Boston, Mexican diplomats have been meeting with families at churches and community events to explain the challenges of claiming U.S.-born children, without dual nationality, after deportation.

Mexican diplomats in Houston, where half a million Mexican immigrants live, said requests for Mexican birth certificates at the consulate are up 50 percent since Trump begin announcing tough measures to curb illegal immigration.

“The tolerance is gone. I think that’s the best way of describing it,” said Oscar Solis, a first secretary of the Mexican consulate in Houston. “It’s like in wars. They come for one person and many who are innocent – or not really involved – end up paying.”

Divina Ciriaco, a 45-year-old housekeeper who lives in the Miami area, said she is gathering all the Mexican documents she would need for her U.S.-born boy to go along with her if she is deported.

“We live in fear of going back to Mexico, to the violence, the poverty we suffered,” said Ciriaco, who migrated along with her husband and two children 20 years ago from the state of Guerrero. She gave birth to her third child in Miami. “Now, it’s just a matter of waiting for that day to come.”


One Comment

  1. Gillian McGregor
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 10:56 | Permalink | Reply

    I think a human tragedy of monumental proportions is unfolding here. Shame on the USA government. 99% of immigrants are decent hard working people. This (expulsion of Mexicans) is a short sighted solution to a fake problem.

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