The Trump Administration has held its focus on immigration reform and border control. Part of its effort has been focused on empowering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and tasking it to crackdown on undocumented immigrants. Throughout the country, ICE raids have been carried out without warning, leading to the removal of individuals and entire families who were not prepared to defend their rights.
If you are an undocumented immigrant in the United States, it is crucial that you understand that you do have inalienable rights despite not being an official citizen or resident of the nation. Knowing your rights and how to uphold them is key in case you are ever confronted by ICE. The Trump Administration has also attempted to pass some ICE duties to local law enforcement, so it is important to know these rights whenever talking to any police officer.
Your rights and options when dealing with ICE include:
- You cannot be compelled to answer questions about your immigration status.
- ICE officers cannot demand to see evidence of your lawful status or immigration papers without producing a warrant.
- You can tell ICE that they do not have permission to search your body, your home, or your vehicle.
- You can demand to see a court issued and signed search warrant without opening your door when ICE knocks; the agent can either slip the warrant under the door or hold it up against the window for you to read. If the warrant is valid, you must let them enter.
- You can request a translator to be present for all future communications if you are not comfortable with speaking English or any other languages spoken by the ICE agents.
- You have the right to remain silent as if you were being targeted by a criminal investigation.
- You do not need to show the police any foreign identification if you are pulled over; you just need to provide license, registration, and proof of insurance.
- If you are in a group stopped by ICE but are not being directly addressed by an agent, ask if you are free to leave, and do so silently if you are permitted to go. You should have the right to leave if you are not explicitly placed under arrest.
- You do not need to sign anything or make any sort of decision that could impact your immigration or criminal case until you have first spoken to your attorney.
Remember to never try to trick ICE with false documentation. This is a common mistake made by undocumented immigrants. ICE agents are highly trained to discern real and falsified immigration paperwork. You will be committing a serious crime if you try to pass fake documents as valid, it will make the immediate situation worse, and it will make your eventual defense all the more difficult.
Have you or a loved one been targeted by an ICE raid or inquiry? Have criminal charges been filed or is removal from the country pending? Act fast by contacting Hager & Schwartz, P.A. and our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys. We have a long history of protecting the rights of the accused, including those confronted by immigration enforcement.