If you are reading or listening to the news, you will probably know that the current administration’s priority is to deport undocumented individuals living in the U.S., as well as keep undocumented people out. Although the U.S. government is prioritizing the individuals it wants to deport, it is not discriminating against people who they want Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to detain. In other words, ICE will no longer “catch and release,” or release an undocumented individual because they are not a priority to the government. They will enforce the laws against any person they encounter without proper documentation. That is why, it is more important now more than ever to know your rights.
Your rights will depend on where and under what circumstance you are stopped. For example, whether you are in your car and stopped by the police or with ICE, or at the airport, or in your home.
If ICE is at your home, keep the door closed until proper identification has been given. Opening the door does not give them permission to enter your home. Only with a valid warrant can they enter your home, unless you give them permission without a warrant. The warrant must be signed by a judge, and an administrative warrant is not sufficient for ICE to enter your home. The warrant will state the person they are looking for and the address to which ICE can enter. In any other circumstance, you do not need to open the door. If agents force their way into your home despite the aforementioned, do not resist, but you can state that you do not consent to a search of your home and you can also exercise your right to remain silent and request to speak with an attorney. Do not lie or show false documents under any circumstance!
Unfortunately, officers at ports of entry or at airports are allowed to ask you questions about your lawful status. However, if stopped by the police in your car, you do have certain rights to search and seizure under the U.S. Constitution. You also have the right to remain silent if the police or immigration agents ask where you were born about your immigration status.
This article is not intended as legal advice. If you believe that any of your rights have been violated, please contact a knowledgeable attorney.