By Melanie Mercado and Tanya Soto
The United States, in the month of February, held 960,483 undocumented immigrants in custody by ICE officials. In 2013, 83 percent of people deported were not given a hearing before a judge. Due to the lack of rights awareness, the number will increase. Regardless of being undocumented, immigrants do have rights. Below are rights and information to keep in mind if confronted by an ICE official, ICE agents, or any law enforcement.
- If ICE officials/agents ask to enter your household they must have a warrant signed by a judge- if they do not inhabitants are allowed to refuse entry. An administrative warrant removal from immigration authorities is not enough. If they do contain a warrant ask them to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up a window for ease of viewing.
- If agents force their entry, do not resist. People have the right to remain silent and speak with a lawyer.
- If an officer or immigration agent asks to search your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. Again, drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent.
- You have the right to not discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents, or any other authorities.
- Do not lie or show false documents.
- Read all papers and make sure you comprehend what the documents are saying. DO NOT SIGN ANY PAPERS without speaking to a lawyer. If you do not understand or cannot read the documents ask for an interpreter.
- If you are arrested, do not resist arrest. Resisting arrest can lead to unwanted violence.
- You have the right to make a local phone call once you are detained or arrested.
Making sure that you know your rights as a resident of the United States is important for the safety of you and your family—especially during hard times like these where many have been separated from their loved ones due to lack of awareness.