Protect you and your family
- If you have a green card, find out if you can become a U.S. citizen.
- If you are here on a visa, find out if you can get a green card.
- If you do not have immigration status, find out if you may be eligible to get a green card, visa or work permit.
- If you have a criminal arrest or conviction, find out how it might affect your situation, or if there is a way to erase it from your record.
- If you are detained or put into deportation proceedings, ask for a hearing in front of a judge to get out of detention and to fight your deportation.
Find a local, nonprofit legal services organization that can help you find out if there is an immigration option for you to get a green card, work permit or visa, or protect you from deportation. Also, keep a list of these local organizations in case you ever have a problem with ICE. These organizations have attorneys who may be able to help you.
Find a Legal Services Provider
Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island - (401) 784-8600
Progreso Latino - (401) 728-5920
Catholic Immigrant and Refugee Services (Rhode Island) - (401) 421.7833 ext.229
Rhode Island Bar Association Lawyer Referral - (401) 421-7799 or 521-5040
Don't Be Cheated!
Warning! Protect Yourself From Fraud!
Only a licensed attorney or accredited representative is authorized and qualified to assist you with your immigration case. Do not hire anyone who:
- Refuses to give you a written contract;
- Charges you for blank immigration forms;
- Promises you a good result because of their special contacts at Immigration/ICE;
- Pretends to be a qualified lawyer or bonded immigration consultant;
- Asks you to lie on a form or sign a blank document; or
- Charges you to “get on a waiting list” or “put your application in line.” There is no list. There is no line for applications.
If you suspect fraud, report it to your consulate or the police, or contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint in English or Spanish at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357). Visit Stop Notario Fraud for more information and resources: http://www.stopnotariofraud.org/
Know Your Rights
Everyone – both documented and undocumented persons – has rights in this country. Make sure you, your family members (including children), housemates, neighbors, and co-workers, regardless of their immigration status, know of their right to remain silent and all of their other rights if ICE or the police come to your home, neighborhood or workplace. A list of these rights, and a card asserting these rights, are included in this packet.
Remain calm and do no try to run away
If you do, ICE or the Police may use that against you
Everyone – both documented and undocumented persons – has rights in this country. Talk to everyone in your family (including children) and household to make sure they all know what to do if approached by immigration officials (ICE) or if immigration officials (ICE) come to your house.
ICE at Your Door
Do not open the door for ICE or any police officer without a warrant signed by a federal judge. You do not need to open the door unless an ICE agent can show you a warrant signed by a judge with your specific and correct name and address on it. If ICE knocks on your door, ask them to slide the search warrant under the door or through a window. Make sure the warrant is signed by a judge and has your correct name and address on it. If ICE or the police do not have this, then you do not have to open the door. Once you open the door, you lose certain rights.
Keep a Know Your Rights “red card” on you and by your door at all times. Below is an example of a “red card”. You can print this out, keep one with you and one in your home. You can slide it under the door to ICE – it explains your rights and that you do not have to open the door. Have your children and other family members practice sliding it under the door.
Talking to ICE
You do not have to talk to ICE or answer their questions. You have the right to remain silent. You can refuse to speak to an ICE agent. Do not answer any questions, especially about your birth place, immigration status or how you entered the United States. Do not give them any personal information about yourself or anyone in your family. Say that you want to remain silent until you speak with a lawyer. Have your children and others in your family practice saying “No” to ICE.
You have the right to refuse to sign anything before you talk to a lawyer. Do not sign anything you do not understand and agree with. That could eliminate your right to speak with a lawyer or have a hearing in front of an immigration judge. This may result in you being deported immediately without a hearing.
Ask to speak with your lawyer and to go before the immigration judge. You have the right to speak to a lawyer and the right to make a phone call. Make sure to carry the phone number for an immigration lawyer with you at all times.
Documents You Should and Should Not Carry With You
- At all times, carry a valid work permit or green card, if you have one. If you do not have one, generally it is advisable to carry a municipal ID, state ID or driver’s license if it was issued in the United States and contains no information at all about your immigration status or your country of origin. Ask a local immigration advocate about what kind of documents are safe to carry in your area.
- At all times, carry a red card to exercise your right to remain silent in case you are stopped or interrogated by ICE or police officers.
- At all times, carry the telephone number of an immigration lawyer, advocate or nonprofit immigration legal services provider you will call in an emergency
- Do not carry any documentation about your country of origin.
- Do not carry any false identity documents or false immigration documents.
Your Country’s Consulate
Have the contact information for your country’s nearest consulate. Many consulates have an emergency number for cases where you need immediate assistance from the consulate. Have that number written down in case ICE detains you.
Know Your Rights Materials and Other Resources
There are a lot of resources available to teach you about your rights. Below are just a few places to start looking if you want to learn more about immigration law.
- Informed Immigrant: https://www.informedimmigrant.com/
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC): https://www.ilrc.org/community-resources
- National Immigration Law Center (NILC): https://www.nilc.org/get-involved/community-education-resources/know-your-rights/
Make a Plan for Your Children
Have a plan so that a trusted adult can care for your children if you cannot. This plan should include emergency numbers, a list of important contact information, specific legal authorization documents for the care of your children and a file with other important documents (like birth certificates and passports). This website includes a template to put together this file of documents.
Talk to Your Children About Your Plan
Without worrying them, assure your children that they will be taken care of if for some reason you are unable to care for them, even for a short period of time. Let them know who will care for them if you are unable to. If your children are old enough, make sure they have the telephone number of the person you are choosing to care for them. If you would like to talk to someone about how to best explain this to your children, you can contact AMOR at (401) 675-1414 for access to counsellors .
Decide Who Can Care for Your Children if You Are Unable To
Talk to the people you would want to care for your children if you are unable to and make sure they know they will be listed as emergency contacts. Memorize their phone numbers and have your children memorize the phone numbers too. If possible choose a trusted person who is a U.S. Citizen or green card holder.
Make sure your children know who can pick them up from up school, who cannot pick them up from school, and who will care for them. Make sure you add the names of the emergency contacts to your school’s list of adults authorized to pick up your children.
Your children’s school may only release your children to adults you designate. Therefore, make sure to regularly update all school, afterschool, day care, summer camp, and other programs’ emergency contact sheets and release forms to include the names of those who can and cannot pick up your children. If you have a restraining order against anyone, make sure to give a copy of it to the school.
Make sure the people who can pick up and care for your children are up to date on your children’s location and school.
Write Down Instructions if Your Children Have Any Medical Conditions and/or Take Any Medications
Make sure to write down any medical conditions or allergies your children have, any medications that your children take, as well as doctor and health insurance information. Keep a copy of this information in your important documents file. Give a copy to your children’s school and the adult you designate to care for your children. Let your children know where to find this information if you are not around.
Complete Caregiver Authorization Forms On This Website
The following authorization forms will provide evidence of your wishes as they relate to the care of your children if you can no longer care for them. It is advisable to complete these forms with an attorney, if possible. But you can complete them without an attorney. The most important thing is to complete them and give a copy to the person who will care for your children.
- Parental Authorization/Appointment of Guardian
- Authorization For Release of Education Records and Appointment of Guardian
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Make Sure Your Children All Have Passports
If your children were born in the United States, visit www.travel.state.gov for more information on obtaining a U.S. passport.
If your children were born in another country, check with the embassy or consulate for more information on obtaining a passport for your children from that country.
Want to Do Even More?
You can also register your children’s birth with your country’s government (for example, with your country’s consulate) if your children were born in the United States. This may grant your child benefits, including citizenship in your home country in some cases.
Important Documents Checklist
- Parental Authorization/Appointment of Guardian
- Authorization for Release of Educational Records and Appointment of Guardian
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Other Important Documentation:
- Photo ID (driver’s license, state/municipal identification card, etc.) for both parents and each child
- Birth Certificates and/or Registry of Birth for both parents and each child
- Passports for both parents and each child
- Social Security Card or ITIN number for both parents and each child
- A-Number and any immigration documents (work permit, green card, visa, etc.) for both parents and each child
- Marriage License (if applicable)
- Divorce certificate (if applicable)
- Family court orders (visitation, custody, etc., if applicable)
- Restraining Orders you/your children have against anyone (if applicable
- Criminal papers (if applicable)
- DCYF papers (if applicable)
- Completed Important Children’s Information document for each child
- Completed Emergency Numbers and Important Contact Information document
You may also include any other documents you would want to be able to find quickly.
Forms for appointing a temporary guardian/caregiver and for creating important information cards for each child can be found in the pdf here.
The information provided on the R.I. Center for Justice website, including the Family Preparedness Plan, does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information and content on this site is for informational purposes only, with no representations made of being up-to-date or error-free. Use of the materials on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney to obtain advice with respect to your individual situation.