On Wednesday, March 29, a panel of immigration lawyers and activists gathered at the Downtown Islamic Center to offer a Know Your Rights presentation to a collection of concerned immigrants and citizens. Among the panelists presenting were Sufyan Sohel, Deputy Director of CAIR-Chicago, Seemi Choudry, Director of the Mayor’s Office of New Americans, and Ruth McCarthy with the National Immigrant Justice Center.
Together, they discussed the rights of American the documented and undocumented alike when engaging with local and federal law enforcement in light of recent Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE) sweeps along the Devon corridor and Little Village and the Trump administration’s recent spate of executive orders targeting federal immigration policy.
Under Trump’s policies, the threshold for deportable offenses has been dramatically lowered, meaning that undocumented immigrants can be scheduled for deportation hearings for blowing through a red light. Attendees were taught to identify genuine court-issued warrants, given step-by-step guides to interacting with law enforcement in a variety of potential situations, and were instructed of their rights in airports, border checks, and immigrant detention facilities. Attention was paid to the differences in criminal procedure for immigrants and citizens.