What To Do If Immigration Officers Are At Your Door

by Carlos Dantes Mejias  |  March 06 2017  |  Immigration | ,

This year ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has been conducting raids throughout the country to apprehend those who are not in compliance with U.S. immigration laws. While these immigration enforcement actions are primarily meant to target those with criminal records, many others are fearful and unsure of what their rights are, even within the privacy of their own homes. Read on to learn your basic rights – regardless of your immigration status – and how to lawfully protect yourself in the case of a raid. The steps below are provided by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) website and can be further accessed, in both English and Spanish, here.

Steps to Follow If ICE Agents Knock

  • If officers are at your door, keep the door closed and ask if they are immigration agents, or from ICE.
  • Ask the agents what they are there for.
  • Opening the door does not give the agents permission to come inside, but it is safer to keep the door closed and speak to the agents through the door.
  • If the agents don’t speak your language, ask for an interpreter.
  • If the agents want to enter, ask them if they have a warrant signed by a judge. If ICE agents do not have a warrant signed by a judge, you may refuse to open the door or let them in. An administrative warrant of removal from immigration authorities is not enough.
  • If they say they have a warrant, ask them to slip the warrant under the door.
  • Look at the top and at the signature line to see if it was issued by a court and signed by a judge. Only a court/judge warrant is enough for entry into your premises. One issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or ICE and signed by a DHS or ICE employee is not enough to allow them entry to your home.
  • Do not open your door unless ICE shows you a judicial search or arrest warrant naming a person in your residence and/or areas to be searched at your address.
  • In all other cases, keep the door closed. State: “I do not consent to your entry.”
  • If agents force their way in anyway, do not attempt to resist. If you wish to exercise your rights, state:“I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.” 
  • Everyone in the residence may also exercise the right to remain silent.
  • Do not lie or show false documents. Do not sign any papers without speaking to a lawyer. If you need more information, contact your local ACLU affiliate HERE.

Finally, remember that you have rights regardless of immigration status. In cases where you believe your rights were violated, you also have a right to legal representation. Contact an attorney if you believe this may be the case.

If you have any concerns about your immigration status, even if you have not been contacted by immigration authorities, consult with an attorney who handles immigration matters to discuss your status.

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