By Atty. Lou Tancinco
At the recently concluded American Immigration Lawyers Association conference held at New Orleans, representatives from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement indicated the lack of detention centers and beds. It was mentioned several times, that Trump’s policy on interior enforcement is being executed and they expect increase in apprehension.
If a non-U.S. citizen who is without legal status is arrested by ICE agent, what steps may be taken? What rights if any do they have at the time of arrest?
Below are the “Know Your Rights” information being disseminated by Immigration Legal Resource Center and certain non-profit organizations, which may be asserted if the inescapable ICE visit or arrest takes place.
You have the right to remain silent.
You can assert your fifth amendment right. You can refuse to speak to an ICE agent. Do not answer any questions, especially about your birth place, immigration status or how you entered the United States. Say that you want to remain silent until you speak with a lawyer.
You have the right to demand a warrant before letting anyone into your home.
The ICE agent may not enter your home without a warrant. You do not have to give permission for him to enter. It is okay not to open your door unless the agent shows you the warrant. If the warrant is presented to you, ask the agent to slip it under the door or through the window. Make sure it is signed by a judge with your correct name, address and date of birth.
You have the right to speak to a lawyer and the right to make a phone call.
It is important to have your attorney’s phone number handy. You will be entitled to make a phone call. If you do not know your attorney’s number, call a trusted friend or relative to coordinate with your attorney.
You have the right to refuse to sign anything before you talk to a lawyer.
There will be some documents that will be presented to you for signing after you are apprehended and taken into custody. Do not sign anything. If you sign without understanding the nature of the document, it is possible that you are signing a waiver of your rights to a lawyer or to a hearing. And if you waive these rights, it may result in your immediate removal without a hearing.
You have the right to refuse to show any documents before speaking with a lawyer.
When you are visited by an ICE agent, you do not have to give permission to search any of your belongings unless there is a warrant. You can ask to speak with a lawyer before you submit any documentation. Each case of an unauthorized individual is distinct and all non-U.S. citizens must be vigilant about their rights. During these challenging times, a legal advice from a professional immigration attorney becomes indispensable to figure out what legal options may still be available.