The coalition recommends Harris County Commissioners to reduce the number of immigrants deported as a result of contact with local law enforcement by:
Providing immigrants with Consent Forms. Require that individuals are provided with information when ICE seeks to interview them, and offer written consent forms. These forms should explain, among other things, the purpose of the interview, that the interview is voluntary, and that the individual may exercise his/her right to remain silent and decline to be interviewed. The consent form should be available in the five most common languages spoken. In addition to notifying a detainee about a detainer request from ICE, jurisdictions should notify a person’s attorney or other designee of any ICE detainers, interview requests, or other DHS involvement in the case. Ideally, written consent by the individual should be required before ICE is able to speak to that person.
Providing Immigrants with Know-Your-Rights Information in Harris County jail, Harris County Juvenile Detention Center and other jails in the county. Local law enforcement should safeguard immigrants’ rights by providing know-your-rights materials that explain their right to remain silent and against coerced statements, their right to an attorney (at their own expense), and their right to speak with their consulate. In addition, know-your-rights materials should be posted on the walls of detention facilities, and legal services and community organizations should be allowed to conduct KYRs presentation inside all country facilities. This would require funding for trusted organizations to provide these services, and a clear MOU between HCSO and the agencies providing the service.
Ensuring that all non-citizen defendants receive high quality consultations before making a plea – see recommendation #3 of expanding the reach of the PD’s office.