ON April 10, 2017, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released a “Know Your Rights Handouts” available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Portuguese to inform the public about the rights of undocumented immigrants who may come into contact with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during home visits, workplace raids and public stops. Below is a re-print of AILA’s Know Your Rights Handouts.
All people living in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, have certain U.S. Constitutional rights. If you are undocumented and immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents knock on your door, come to your work place, or stop you on the street or in a public place, know that you have the following rights:
If ICE visits your home
• You do not have to open the door. You do not have to open the door or let the officers into your home unless they have a valid search warrant signed by a judge.
• An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant. If this is the only document they have, they cannot legally come inside unless you verbally agree to let them in.
• If the officers say they have a search warrant signed by a judge, ask them to slide it under the door or hold it up to a window so you can see it.
• If the warrant does not have your correct name and address on it and is not signed by a judge you do not have to open the door or let them inside.
• If at any point you decide to speak with the officers, you do not need to open the door to do so. You can speak to them through the door or step outside and close the door.
• You have the right to remain silent. You do not need to speak to the immigration officers or answer any questions.
• If you are asked where you were born or how you entered the United States, you may refuse to answer or remain silent.
• If you choose to remain silent, say so out loud.
• You may show a know-your-rights card to the officer that explains that you will remain silent and wish to speak to a lawyer
• You may refuse to show identity documents that say what country you are from.
• Do not show any false documents and do not lie.
• You have the right to speak to a lawyer. If you are detained or taken into custody, you have the right to immediately contact a lawyer.
• Even if you do not have a lawyer, you may tell the immigration officers that you want to speak to a lawyer.
• If you have a lawyer, you have the right to talk to them. If you have a signed Form G-28, which shows you have a lawyer, give it to an officer.
• If you do not have a lawyer, ask an immigration officer for a list of pro bono lawyers.
• You also have the right to contact your consulate. The consulate may be able to assist you in locating a lawyer.
• You can refuse to sign any/all paperwork until you have had the opportunity to speak to a lawyer.
• If you choose to sign something without speaking to a lawyer, be sure you understand exactly what the document says and means before you sign it.
All the above rights also apply when ICE visits your workplace or when ICE stops you in public. In addition, remember the following:
If ICE visits your workplace
If you are asked to stand in a group according to immigration status, you do not have to move, or you can move to an area that is not designated for a particular group.
If ICE stops you in public
You may refuse a search. If you are stopped for questioning but are not arrested, you do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but an officer may “pat down” your clothes if he or she suspects you have a weapon.
Consult an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your particular situation and to know more about your rights.
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Atty. Aurora Vega-Buzon is a partner in Chua Tinsay & Vega, A Professional Legal Corporation (CTV) - a full service law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Philippines. The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and/or how their services may be retained at (619) 955-6277; (415) 495-8088; firstname.lastname@example.org