Many immigrants find themselves in a precarious legal position.
Yet, as far as the law is concerned, things often aren’t as bad as they seem. Yes, discrimination and abuse based on immigration status do happen. But, they represent a violation of human rights.
One of the chief problems is you cannot exercise your right if you don’t know your rights immigration-wise. You aren’t sure how to behave when approached by police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.
Well, the U.S. Constitution bestows guaranteed rights upon all immigrants, regardless of their status. For instance, officials cannot perform certain actions without your consent. In case you didn’t know what, we have more good news for you.
We’re going to cover a set of basic rights that no agents or even presidents can infringe on.
Interacting with the Officials
Entering the U.S. without proper inspection by authorities is a risky business.
It could lead to expedited removal from the country. In these worst-case scenarios, you should ask for legal reasons behind them. Likewise, bear in mind that it’s possible to challenge deportation orders.
Moving on, rule number one is to never break the law willingly and to always stay calm and collected in the presence of law enforcement (police, Border Patrol, or ICE).
Your best bet might be to cooperate: provide necessary documentation and answers to questions. Resisting and obstructing officers can cause unpleasant and unpredictable situations.
It’s also your right to remain silent when dealing with police and other officials. Anything you tell can be later used in court against you. So, you might want to tread very carefully unless you have a lawyer.
One exception is when an immigration agent asks non-U.S. citizens for immigration papers. Namely, you have to show them if you have them on you. Still, you retain the right to refuse agents searching you and your belongings.
Do note, however, that at border crossings and checkpoints, federal officials may engage in “routine searches”. These procedures apply to luggage, people, and vehicles.
Arrest and Detention
Border Patrol police can detain you only on the basis of “reasonable suspicion”.
In other words, they would need reasons to believe you’re breaking federal or immigration law.
On the other hand, immigration officers can arrest immigrants only with a “probable cause”. This concept is similar to “reasonable suspicion”. It implies you have either committed or about to commit a crime.
In case the police arrest does take place, you have to protect your rights. You’re allowed to have one local phone call and a government-appointed lawyer.
Immigrants detained by ICE or Border Patrol don’t get this kind of legal support. Of course, you still have the right to hire a lawyer, you just have to do it on your own.
Those who wish to remain silent must declare their intent out loud and ask for a lawyer immediately. They also need to refrain from redundant excuses, document signings, and explanations.
At Your Home
When ICE or police show up at your home, similar rules apply.
Stay respectful and open the door. This doesn’t constitute a legal basis for officers to go inside. They still need a warrant signed by the judge and even this document doesn’t annul your basic rights.
You can choose to be silent or ask for clarification. For instance, you may demand a badge or identification to be sure about that. Failing to provide a warrant should solicit a denial of consent on your part.
When experiencing a forced entry, don’t try to resist the authorities. Remain silent or state your rights and demand a lawyer.
Those who are on probation with a search condition exert limited rights. They must always allow police or ICE to enter with no exceptions.
Disclosing Your Status and Other Information
A matter of immigration status is something to be discussed with your lawyer.
You don’t have to have that conversation with anyone else, not even immigration agents.
But, when entering or leaving the country, customs officers may inquire about your immigration status. This is one instance in which you have to answer. This doesn’t apply to lawful permanent residents (LPR), who must only reveal identity-related information.
For them, refusal to answer can only lead to delays, not a denial of entry.
Furthermore, notice that some states, such as Arizona and Colorado, require you to state your name when asked. This usually happens when law enforcement stops migrants in public spaces. You’re not obliged to answer any further questions though, provided you’re not committing any crime.
Drivers that are pulled over must show proper documentation as well. This is to say driver license, vehicle registration, and insurance. Again, nobody has the right to compel you to answer questions about immigration status.
Bonds and Violations of Rights
If you get detained while your case is ongoing, you’re eligible for immigration bond release.
This bail mechanism allows you to leave custody until court appearance is required. To initiate it, immigrants should ask for a bond hearing held by an immigration judge. This judge can order your release and even lower your bond.
The good news is you can find providers that operate in all states. We are one of them.
Finally, if you believe your rights are being violated, do the following.
Put everything in black and white, including seemingly-unimportant details. Some vital pieces of information are patrol car numbers and officer’s badges, as well as witness contact information.
Those who get injured should take photos of their injuries. It goes without saying immediate medical attention is due as well.
And once you collect all the evidence, file a written complaint. You can do it with the internal affairs division of respective agency or civilian complaint board.
Know Your Rights Immigration is Your Right!
Just because you’re not a citizen doesn’t mean you don’t have any rights.
You just have to understand and know your rights immigration-wise. We’ve shown it all depends where you are and what kind of official is interacting with you. That being said, there are some general rules.
Never lie, obstruct justice, or give false documents. Avoid making any statement or commitments without first consulting your lawyer. More often than not, you’re not doing yourself any favors acting rashly.
These are ways to reduce risks and protect yourself from potential denials of due process rights.
Contact us right away in case you need an immigration bail bond for yourself or the loved ones. We’ll guide you through the whole process nice and easy.