The United States of America is often heralded as the land of the free and the fair due to the fact that anyone who enters the country is given a basic set of rights under the words of the Constitution. This applies to undocumented immigrants as well. With plenty of recent stories of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and ongoing promises from the Trump Administration to deport all undocumented people within the country, now is the time to know your rights if you have entered and live in the United States without proper documents.
Here are the most important basic rights you have, need to know, and should defend:
- You cannot be compelled to speak against your will to anyone. When an immigration officer tries to question you, stay quiet. It is your right to be silent when you choose.
- You must be given the opportunity to contact an attorney immediately after you are detained by ICE agents or other officers of the government. Unnecessary delays could be a violation of your rights.
- You can refuse to sign any paperwork presented by immigration officers if you have not yet had a chance to talk to your immigration attorney. You cannot be compelled to sign something against your will.
- Your home cannot be searched by ICE agents or police officers without a warrant in nearly all situations. If there is no ongoing criminal activity in your household at the time the law enforcement agents arrive, then you do not have to open your door to let them in, no matter how kind and agreeable they may seem.
- You have the right to demand to see a warrant before letting ICE officers into your home, or before even opening the door. Warrants should be printed on single sheets of paper, and can be slid under door frames or through mail slots for your review. You can also ask that a warrant be held against the window. A warrant with the wrong name or address is not valid.
- You can and should carry any and all immigration-related documents issued by the United States with you at all times, even if you are not properly documented. Foreign paperwork should not be kept on your person, however, as ICE agents may misconstrue it as evidence of your illegal entry into the country.
- If you are in a situation where you must speak with ICE agents without your attorney present, be sure to mention any of your dependents, such as young children, elders, or medically disabled individuals that rely on you for daily care.
This is a list of your basic rights, but you have many more. To learn all about your rights and how they pertain to an ongoing immigration law case, you can contact The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh in York. Our firm can also help you explore your options to becoming legally documented in the United States without jeopardizing your freedom and rights.