Young adults who are in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, commonly known as “Dreamers,” face special challenges if they take part in the nationwide peaceful protesting. Young demonstrators are leading voices in the calls for change, and national voices including former President Barack Obama are encouraging young people to lead the charge for change:
“When sometimes I feel despair, I just see what’s happening with young people all across the country, and the talent and the voice and the sophistication that they’re displaying. And it makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if, you know, this country’s gonna get better.”
Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy applauds Dreamers who are taking a stand against racism and police brutality:
“I admire and encourage these young Dreamers who are taking a stand for police reforms and engaging in peaceful protests even while they face potential deportation from the country they call home. As an immigration lawyer, I must caution DACA recipients that an arrest could mean losing their work permit and losing their deferral from deportation.”
Dreamers and members of mixed-status households face unique risks if they are arrested while protesting. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), ICE and other federal agents have been deployed by the government to assist local law enforcement with controlling protesters.
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of Chicago is distributing important information about what can happen when undocumented people or non-citizens exercise their legal right to protest and are arrested:
• Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights: the right to free speech, to have a lawyer in criminal proceedings, the right to be protected from unlawful searches and other guarantees.
• Although you have a right to protest, there is a risk when non-citizens attend a protest because you are undocumented and do not have a legal right to be in the United States.
• If you are not a U.S. citizen, you do not have a “right” to stay in the United States. Even if you have a green card, your right to remain in the U.S. is conditioned upon various things, most importantly, criminal convictions.
• If you are arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime arising out of your soma with no prescription presence or participation in a protest, the conviction may lead to immigration consequences. It is very important that you do not accept any plea agreements until you or your criminal defense attorney has consulted with an immigration attorney.
If you are arrested, ask to speak to your lawyer. You have the right to remain silent and do not have to explain your immigration or citizenship status to the police, immigration agents, or any other officials. or agents: anything you tell an officer can later be used against you in immigration court. NLG advised that you carry the card of an immigration attorney with you when you go to a protest and that your write their phone number on your arm in case you get arrested and your things are taken away.
If you are charged criminally, you will be provided with a criminal defense attorney free of charge. Ask this lawyer about the effect of the criminal conviction or plea on your immigration status. Ask this lawyer to talk to an immigration criminal defense lawyer.
Immigration criminal defense attorneys are experienced in the immigration consequences a noncitizen faces for a criminal conviction that a traditional criminal defense lawyer may not be aware of. Criminal Immigration is an area of the law involving cases that have both criminal and immigration issues attached to it. An experienced criminal immigration attorney knows how to fight for your best possible outcome and to reduce or dismiss charges and protect your immigration status in Illinois. If you are a green card holder or an illegal immigrant and are charged with a crime, it is critical that you consult an experienced criminal immigration attorney.
If you are a non-citizen who is arrested while protesting, contact the experienced immigration and criminal attorneys at Godoy Law Office. Godoy Law Office’s experience in criminal law as former assistant state’s attorneys and dedication to immigration law gives us a distinct advantage that allows us to fight zealously on your behalf. We represent clients throughout Illinois from our offices in Cook and Dupage Counties. Call us today at 855-554-6369.