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Should you carry your immigration papers?

You have your immigration papers, but you often leave them at home in your safe. Should you carry them with you everywhere that you go?

While some feel this is an overreaction to current events, others suggest that it may be wise to keep them on you. You’re better off to have them and not need them than to need them when they’re at home.

Even events that don’t involve national border crossings could trigger a request for your papers. For instance, there was a case where a domestic flight landed in New York, at JFK Airport. Officials thought that one of the passengers had an outstanding order for deportation.

To find out, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were waiting when the plane touched down. They talked to every single person on that plane, asking them to clarify their immigration status.

Noncitizens are legally required to have some sort of evidence to show why they’re in the country. Even if they’re in the U.S. legally — with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), for instance — it makes the process go smoothly if they can prove it. If people on that plan were supposed to be carrying documents and neglected to do so, even if they were not the people the ICE agents were after, they could have run into trouble.

If you do find yourself being questioned or detained, be sure you know your legal rights. This can be a frightening time and these matters are complex, but approaching it by focusing on your legal options helps you work toward a resolution.

Source: NAFSA, “Tips for Surviving in a Time of Immigration Uncertainty,” Dan Berger and Stephen Yale-Loehr, accessed Dec. 07, 2017