Protesting and DACA: What You Need to Know Before You Protest

Protestors flood West Hollywood (photo by Samuel Braslow)

As protests in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery continue across the country, there are many unknowns concerning the rights of those protesting. As Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been actively supporting law enforcement at many protests, undocumented immigrants and DACA recipients (commonly known as “Dreamers”), in particular, are uncertain how protesting might affect their status

Because many Dreamers come from mixed-status families (a family in which some members are documented residents, citizens, or DACA recipients, and some members are undocumented) and social circles, there is justified fear that the arrest of a Dreamer could put at risk those relatives and friends. Though both CBP and ICE have released statements saying that they are there only to support local and federal law enforcement, there is little trust between immigration enforcement agencies and immigrants. The fear of arrest and detainment is real, and it has begun happening across the country. In Phoenix, activist Máxima Guerrero was arrested while leaving a protest on May 30th, and was transferred to ICE custody. After over 24 hours of public outcry and protests on her behalf, she was released from the Phoenix ICE field office on June 1st.

There has been no reassurance from ICE or CBP that Dreamers and undocumented immigrants will not be detained or deported if they are arrested at a protest, and it is not likely that there will be. There is a significant level of distrust surrounding the “support” role that ICE and CBP are playing with law enforcement, and detainment and deportation have been threatened already in many cases of arrest.

Before making the decision to protest, contact an immigration attorney to get as much information as possible about your rights as a DACA recipient or undocumented immigrant; CIMA Law Group has extensive experience with immigration and DACA cases, and we’re here to help.

If you are a Dreamer or an undocumented immigrant and plan on protesting, it is important to be cautious and try to avoid situations where arrests may occur. Many activists are recommending notifying your emergency contacts before attending a protest, and having their numbers (and that of an immigration attorney) handy in case you need it. Remaining as peaceful a protester as possible is key while there is so much uncertainty about the roles of ICE and CBP at the protests.

Published by madysoncarpenter

Madyson Carpenter is a government relations and legal intern at CIMA Law Group in Phoenix, AZ. She graduated with honors from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2020. Madyson is passionate about environmental policy and social justice, and plans on beginning law school in 2021. In her spare time, you can nearly always find Madyson backpacking, climbing, making art, or volunteering with various environmental advocacy groups.

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