With the recent confusion about immigration policies, you may be wondering what your rights with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are. The good news is that if you live in the United States, you have rights regardless of your citizenship status. So, just what are those rights, and how should you handle a visit from ICE?
When ICE Knocks on Your Door
If ICE knocks on your door, you have the right to ask them to identify themselves as immigration officers or ICE agents. You are only required to open the door for a warrant signed by a judge, which can be slipped under the door for you to inspect. When a valid judge warrant is presented, agents enter the home. Police officers can also enter the home with an arrest warrant if they have reason to believe a suspect is there. Deportation warrants do not allow officers access to the home without your consent. If agents force their way into your home, calmly tell agents you do not consent to a search and request a lawyer.
What not to Say to ICE
You are not required to discuss your citizenship status with ICE agents, including how you came to be in the United States. The only exception is for those on nonimmigrant visas, or at airports or international borders. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen and an ICE agent asks to see your immigration papers, you must present them. If you do not have them, stay silent.
Your Rights in Custody
If you find yourself in ICE custody, you have the right to remain silent and refrain from discussing anything with anyone except your lawyer. Perhaps the most important word of caution – do not sign anything without the counsel of an immigration lawyer. Doing so could jeopardize your opportunity to remain in the U.S. You also have the right to notify the consulate of your detainment.
If You Believe Your Rights Have Been Violated
Do not resist or challenge ICE officers. If you suspect they are acting illegally or violating your rights, document as much as possible. Take photos. Write down your experience. Take note of any witnesses and ask for their contact information. Their account of your experience may be important at a later date. Notify your lawyer of your experience with ICE agents as well. You should file a complaint with the ICE division of internal affairs and your local branch of the ACLU.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Protect Your Rights When Facing ICE
To protect your right to remain in the U.S., it is important to handle interactions with ICE according to the law. The immigration system can be complicated, but Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. will advocate for you. Associates at Surin & Griffin focus on all aspects of immigration law, staying on top of ongoing changes to national and local immigration policies. Call our Center City Philadelphia office today at 215-925-4435 to discuss your situation or contact us online. Surin & Griffin protects the rights of clients throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.