The Latino/a Law Caucus and the International Law Students Association hosted the Know Your Rights event at the University of Idaho’s Menard Law Building April 17.
Kate Evans, director of the Immigration Clinic for the College of Law, addressed the recent attempted changes to immigration policies under President Donald Trump.
Although Trump’s attempts at changing immigration laws haven’t been entirely successful, Evans said one of the most important things to recognize about changes in any type of legislation is that the process takes time.
“Fundamental concepts of about what it takes to gain entrance into this country, and in which conditions the U.S. can kick you out of the country — changes to those concepts don’t happen overnight,” Evans said.
Evans said even though the laws haven’t technically changed, the level of enforcement has been drastically amplified.
“On average, (the United States) detains around 300,000 illegal immigrants a year,” Evans said. “That number is expected to jump to over 500,000 under the Trump administration.”
Evans said the number of people who have had their electronic devices searched after entering the country has increased five times over since Trump’s first attempt at reforming immigration law.
Evans said it is crucial for everybody to be well-informed of their personal rights, especially those who are marginalized.
“The rate of domestic arrests by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has increased by roughly 32 percent,” Evans said. “Unless you happen to be a Latino male with no criminal record, in which case the rate has doubled.”
Leo Morales, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, spoke to the audience via video conference call.
Morales said there are different ways to best achieve a reasonable interaction with authority figures, and there are other ways to avoid self-incrimination. Some tips include not signing anything without the presence of legal counsel, not resisting arrest even if the individual feels legitimately threatened and carrying sources of identification at all times. Morales said human rights are not limited to a person’s country of origin or legal status.
“Regardless of status, every person in this country has undeniable rights set forth by the Constitution,” Morales said.
Andrew Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org