- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 18, 2016

Officials in Princeton, New Jersey, are providing legal advice to illegal immigrants on how to avoid deportation, following the arrest of two local residents by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Since the Feb. 3 arrests, the town’s Human Services department and the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) have been in contact with residents in the area “to offer assistance and support as needed,” the town said in a statement, NJ.com reported.

“We recognize that these are stressful times for our community and our residents,” the statement said.

Several documents on the town’s website provide advice for undocumented residents on what to do when confronted by ICE officers.

“Do not answer any questions or say only ‘I need to speak to my lawyer,’ ” the “Know Your Rights” pamphlet states. “If you have a valid immigration status documents, show it. Always carry it with you. Do not say anything about where you were born or how you entered the United States. Do not carry papers from another country.

“Remember that providing your name has risks, and that your name can be used to start a deportation process,” the pamphlet says.

Councilwoman Heather Howard has been a leading advocate for working with the local immigrant population to prevent detentions and deportations, Fox News reported.

“These [arrests] are really unfortunate,” she said. “They cause fear and panic in the community, and they work to undermine the community’s effort to improve law enforcement relations.”

Elisa Neira, the executive director of Human Services, said the goal of the literature is to better inform illegal immigrants of their rights.

“We want our residents to be educated, to have access to competent immigration attorneys and nonprofit agencies, to have their documents and records in a safe place and not to fear seeking assistance from local police, schools and other agencies, when needed,” she said in a press release.

An ICE spokesman told Fox News that the town’s efforts won’t impede ICE’s duties.

“It’s not gonna hinder our operations,” Alvin Phillips said. “Standard operations are still ongoing and based on priorities.”

“ICE arrests are not unfortunate,” he said. “In fact to the contrary of previous reports — ICE actions are in keeping with the laws and homeland security priorities: National Security, Public Safety and Border Security. I will also add, arrests in question are afforded an opportunity to meet with legal counsel.”

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