Being detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement is the worst nightmare of any person who is not a U.S. citizen. Preparing for the possibility of detention can make it slightly less of an ordeal. What can be done to prepare for the possibility?
1) Have funds set aside for possible immigration bond. Alternatively, make a list of friends and family who agree to provide financial assistance and give the list (with contact details) to someone you know and trust. The person you choose should be known and trusted by your family and friends too. Immigration bonds are typically $3,000 to $8,000.
2) Identify an immigration attorney in advance. If you meet with an immigration attorney before ICE picks you up, you will know what to expect, what your rights are and what your options might be. Keep the attorney's business card with you at all times.
3) If the attorney identifies a way to help you remain in the U.S., there may be documentation that you can assemble in a safe place in advance that could help with your representation. Always make copies of the documents and keep the copies separate from the originals. Important documents include: birth certificates (you, your children, your spouse), marriage certificate, passport, proof of presence in the U.S. (e.g. residential leases, medical bills, bank account statements, utility bills, paystubs) and judgments of conviction/dismissal for any criminal offenses.
4) If you are picked up by ICE, ask to speak with your immigration attorney. Do not sign any documents until you have spoken with your attorney.
If you are prepared for the worst, you and your family will suffer less distress and your attorney will be able to represent you efficiently and effectively.