‘Know your rights': Immigration advocates, attorneys ramp up efforts ahead of planned mass ICE raids – NBC News

Immigration advocates and lawyers have ramped up efforts to combat widespread raids threatened by the Trump administration by sharing information with immigrant communities about their rights.

The raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement scheduled to begin Sunday are set to target about 2,000 undocumented families in major cities across the United States, officials told NBC News. The raids were originally planned to take place three weeks ago but were postponed.

Many advocacy groups and some Democratic lawmakers have responded by sharing information, both in person and on social media, to immigrants in multiple languages, informing them of their rights and what to expect should the raids be carried about.

“People should understand that they have rights regardless of their immigration status,” Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said.

The material includes videos and social media toolkits covering what to do if an ICE agent shows up at their homes.

“They do not need do let an ICE agent into their home unless there’s a judicial warrant and rarely does ICE have a judicial warrant,” Gelernt said, adding that ICE usually has its own administrative warrants.

“We’re very concerned about how the raids will be carried out,” he said, adding the ACLU was talking to other groups and private law firms about monitoring the raids “to make sure excessive force is not being used or they’re not being conducted unconstitutionally. Families could be separated.”

The ACLU is also part of a pre-emptive lawsuit filed Thursday in New York in response to the planned raids. The lawsuit argued that “constitutional due process requires the government to bring these families and children before an immigration judge so they can have a fair day in court before they face deportation,” according to a statement from the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The lawsuit is asking for families ordered deported because they did not appear in court to be given a hearing before an immigration judge to determine if their order of removal should be rescinded. The suit said error and “widespread failures” in notifying families of their court dates could have contributed to their absence in court. Such errors include notices to appear in court sent to wrong addresses or receiving a notice just before a hearing or even after a hearing has taken place, the lawsuit said.

“The Trump administration’s threats against immigrants run roughshod over basic fairness and due process,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in the statement. “For the many families who came here as refugees fleeing violence, deportation is a death threat. We will fight to ensure no one faces this kind of peril without having their case considered in court.”

New York City Mayor and 2020 Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio said on MSNBC Thursday that he wanted “to get the truth out to people” regarding the potential raids. He said New Yorkers could call 311 to find out information about their rights.

“We tell people their rights, we protect them,” he said, adding that the city also provides legal assistance to families who may be impacted by the raids.

“First it starts with trying to take away the fear and say we have your back, we’re going to give you real information,” he said. “Don’t believe the rumors, call a specific hotline, find out what’s really going on.”

Melissa Chua, associate director of immigrant protection at the New York Legal Assistance Group, said the group was handing out informational flyers and will be targeting families with outstanding orders of removal, which will reportedly be targeted in the raids.

“We’re reaching out to any families in the area that we know may be at risk,” she said.

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