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Contact NIJC Communications Director Tara Tidwell Cullen at (312) 833-2967 or by email.

Reiterate Immigrants’ Right to Remain Silent during ICE Encounters

Illinois immigrant rights advocates are condemning the Trump administration’s expansion of “expedited removal,” which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to deport people without the opportunity to appear before an immigration judge. Previously, expedited removal was only applied to immigrants apprehended within 100 miles of the border who could not prove they had been in the United States for 14 days. The expansion extends the program nationwide to people who cannot prove they have been in the United States for two years. The rule is the latest installment in the Trump administration’s reign of terror targeting immigrants and sowing fear in our communities.

In light of the new policy, the National Immigrant Justice Center, PASO-West Suburban Action Project, and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) are reiterating that immigrants apprehended by ICE should both exercise their right to remain silent and have a safety plan.

What the new rule says: The expansion of the program, which took effect on July 22, now allows DHS to apply fast-track, expedited removal to anyone, anywhere in the United States, who: 1) has not been admitted or paroled into the United States; and 2) cannot prove that they have been in the United States for at least two years. Under the new rule, expedited removal should not be applied to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or anyone who expresses a credible fear of persecution in the country to which they would be deported.

The rule also notes that DHS officers maintain discretion to choose not to put someone in expedited removal proceedings in certain circumstances, including someone with “serious medical conditions” or those who have “substantial connections to the United States.” However, this discretion is assigned to, among others, the very same CBP officers who were members of the racist, misogynistic Facebook group ProPublica exposed last month, and ICE officers whose unlawful use of racial profiling is currently being challenged by NIJC in the federal court.

How do I protect myself?

Immigration advocates and lawyers advise immigrants and their families to prepare in advance for encounters with immigration enforcement which may result in detention under the new expedited removal rule.

  1. Create a safety plan:

    • Identify your emergency contact and memorize their phone number.

    • Keep key documents in a safe location where your emergency contact can access them. This includes your passport, identity information, financial information, and proof of physical presence for at least two years in the United States (including income tax returns, utility bills, paycheck statements, children’s school records, medical records).

    • Provide your child’s school or day care with the emergency contact name and phone number and provide authorization for the emergency contact to pick up your child.

    • Provide authorization for your emergency contact to make medical and legal decisions for your child.

  2. Obey traffic and criminal laws and carry a valid state ID and/or work permit. Do not carry any false/fraudulent documents that do not correspond to your identity.

  3. Exercise your rights during an enforcement action. All people have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions or show any documents to an immigration officer. Ask to speak with a lawyer.

If you need support:

  • 24-Hour Emergency Support

    • Call the ICIRR Family Support Hotline at 1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY (1-855-435-7693). The hotline is available 24 hours a day in English, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, and Polish. The hotline provides  legal and social services referrals and basic legal rights information.

    • For additional resources, visit:

  •  Immigration legal assistance:


The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education. Visit and follow @NIJC.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. Visit for more information.

PASO – West Suburban Action Project (Proyecto de Acción de los Suburbios del Oeste) is a  community-based social justice organization that works to engage community members to address issues that affect them, their families, and neighbors with the mission to build stronger communities where all residents can live dignified lives regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or immigration status.