A leading Irish immigration attorney has advised Irish undocumented not to open their doors to ICE agents unless they have a warrant from a judge to enter the home.
Fiona McEntee, a leading immigration attorney in the Irish American community, was speaking after ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) arrested and jailed Keith Byrne, an Irish father of three, on his way to work in Springfield Township, near Philadelphia, on Wednesday.
President Donald J Trump has ordered a major crackdown on undocumented which has left thousands of Irish fearful.
McEntee told RTE in Ireland that “People should be aware of their rights and familiarize themselves with advice from the American Council for Civil Liberties (ACLU) to let them know what to do "if ICE comes to the door".
"The main thing to be aware of is that you do not have to open your door if ICE is there unless they have a warrant that is signed by a judge and not just an ICE warrant."
She advised that information and knowledge is key for people to be fully prepared in advance.
McEntee, whose practice is based in Chicago, stated that most ICE raids will be focused on those who have reached the end of their appeals process but undocumented who are present during the raid could be arrested too.
"This is not to say that other people who are also undocumented could not get swept up in this".
"I don't know what the Irish authorities have the ability to do, but if they have the ability to do anything, then I would accept that kind of help," she said.
"We need to make the story known because it's tragic. Our family is going to be torn apart if Keith gets deported."
Byrne said her husband is being “treated like a criminal” and described the situation he is facing as "unjust and unfair".
"He is not a criminal. He has a family and a business and abides by the law like every other citizen".
Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs says it "understands the concerns of Irish citizens in the US and their families at home in light of reported developments" but added, "these issues are a matter for the US authorities".
"Our Embassy, as well as our six consulates across the US, work closely with the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers who support the needs of Irish citizens in the United States."
It has advised anyone with concerns to contact the Embassy, their local consulate or immigration center, who the Department says, "can provide advice and suggest the names of reputable immigration lawyers if required".
You can find a full list of Irish Embassies and Consulates in the United States here. You can also find your local Irish center, through the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers here.
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