If an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer approaches you,
it is important to understand your rights. Even if you are not a United
States citizen, you still have a right to certain privileges and an element
of privacy. Recent changes to immigration law under the Trump Administration
have led to stronger legal enforcement of immigration regulations, led
by the ICE. The ICE may approach you looking for proof of your status
as a legal immigrant or naturalized citizen, whether at home, at work,
or on the street. For this reason, all individuals living in the United
States should know what to do if confronted by an immigration officer.
Keep Your Door Closed
When an immigration officer with ICE approaches you at home, you have the
right to keep the door closed. Unless they have a valid search warrant
signed by a judge, you are not required to allow the officers into your
home. Even if they have a deportation warrant, ICE officers cannot enter
your home without a search warrant or without your permission.
You also have the right to remain silent and are in no way obligated to
speak to the immigration officers if you do not wish to. In most situations,
it is better if you do not because the officer may try to get more information
out of you than you are willing to share. ICE officers will likely ask
where you were born, how you entered the United States or may ask to see
identity documents. If you are not a documented citizen and immigration
officers ask to see your papers, you must provide them with your papers
if you are not at home and have the papers on you. If you do not have
your papers on you, remain silent and do not, under any circumstances,
provide false papers or lie. Remember, the information you share could
then be used against you later on.
The best thing to do is to tell the officers you choose to remain silent
and that you will not speak without your lawyer present. If you are detained
or taken into custody, you will then have the right to contact your immigration
lawyer for further assistance.
The ICE & Your Workplace
ICE officers may not enter your workplace without consent from your employer
or a valid search warrant. If you are undocumented and feel frightened,
remember that running away in a panic is the worst thing you can do. Remain
calm and if you are questioned, tell the officer you wish to remain silent
until you speak with your attorney.
Protecting Your Rights When Detained
If you are taken into custody, you do have the right to an attorney, but
the U.S. government does not have to provide you with one. If you do not
already have an immigration attorney, you can ask to be provided with
a list, but it is always best to be prepared.
After a run-in with authorities from Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
if you feel your rights have been violated in any way, contact an immigration
attorney immediately. Write down everything you remember of the incident,
including descriptions of the immigration officers, and any words of refusal
on your part. If you stated that you wished to remain silent, or refused
to allow the officers into your home, record when you made those statements
and the reactions of the immigration officers. This account can be used
to help your case later on.
If you need help with an ICE issue, our immigration lawyers can help. Contact the Law Offices of Michael M. Felix
to get started today.