While social media is an effective way for Texas residents to spread messages, it also is one of the worst offenders when it comes to enabling bad information. Bad information can lead to serious consequences, especially when it comes to immigration law. For instance, as reported by the Associated Press, a widely circulated Facebook post falsely claims, “Illegals are free to leave detention centers anytime to go back to Mexico.”

That is leading to a lot of misunderstandings. Katie Shepherd, who is a national advocate for the American Immigration Council, says detainees held by ICE or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are not free to leave whenever they please. That is especially true for those who have legal immigration proceedings underway and yet to conclude. Generally, anyone who is in federal custody never is free to leave at any time they choose.

The false Facebook post also contains an obvious fallacy: that all undocumented immigrants are from Mexico. Clearly, that notion is rooted in racist ideology and, whatever its intent, only compounds the unintended consequences of circulating such blatantly false information. Plus, Mexico does not have an officially open border. That national also has immigration and entry policies that all people must follow.

When someone has a case before ICE or CBP, the best way to obtain a release is to abide national immigration law and request a voluntary departure during an initial hearing with the immigration judge assigned to that person’s case. An attorney experienced in immigration law can be a great asset by ensuring all paperwork is filed properly and helping the case get a fair hearing as quickly as possible. Effective representation can help to release those who are detained due to immigration law.