The Washington Post is reporting that immigration arrests rose 32.6% in the first weeks of the new administration. There were a total of 21,362 individuals arrested compared with 16,104 during the same period last year. Of the 21,362, there were 5,441 that had no criminal record.
What is troubling is that there are reports of ICE officers detaining individuals unable to show legal authorization to be in the United States. The implementation of the Real ID Act leads us to believe that we are moving closer to a national ID card. To avoid the risk of detention, non-immigrants should carry a copy of their I-94 card and make sure that their I-94 is current. If you are an employment based non-immigrant it is critical that you print your I-94 after each trip abroad. If there is an error on your I-94 have it corrected immediately.
The I-94 is the official electronic record of your status in the United States. It contains the class of admission as well as the expiration of your status. If you lose your I-94 or travel outside the United States go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protections’ Form I-94 Web Page and print a new I-94. https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home. The passport and visa stamp are not good enough since the visa stamp does not indicate the expiration date of your status, particularly with a Blanket L.
If an extension was filed since your last admission to the United States, have evidence of the extension. This could be a receipt notice or the approved I797.
The major concern for many employment based immigrants is that after they file the I-485 they are working using the Employment Authorization Document rather than the non-immigrant work visa. If you are in this situation be prepared to present the employment card as well as the I-485 receipts during any law enforcement/ICE encounter.
If you are a lawful permanent resident it is a violation of law not to carry your permanent resident card. Now more than ever, the ability to demonstrate you are legally in the United States is of the utmost importance.