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As a result of the recent ICE Raids targeted at Central American Women and Children, the focus of the Q&A this week is “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS” when dealing with the Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI.
Question #1 – What are my rights when stopped by Authorities as a foreign national in the US?
• You have the right to remain silent • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave • You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested, ask for one immediately • Regardless of your status in the U.S., you have constitutional rights
Question #2 – What should I do if stopped by the Authorities?
• Stay calm and be polite • DO NOT interfere with or obstruct the police • DO NOT lie or give false documents • Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested (i.e., medical attention, child care, etc.)
• Remember the details of the encounter • File a written complaint or call your local ACLU or immigrant friendly community based organization if you feel your rights have been violated
Question #3 – What should I do if I am questioned about my Immigration Status?
• You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents or any other officials.
• If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you MUST show them if you have them with you • DO NOT lie about your immigration or citizenship status and DO NOT provide fake documents
Question#4 – What should I do if the Police or Immigration Agents come to my home?
• You DO NOT have to let them in unless they have certain kinds of warrants
1. Search warrant – allows police to enter but they may only search the areas and the items listed 2. Arrest warrant – allows police to enter if the person listed on the warrant is believed to be inside 3. Warrant of removal/deportation – DOES NOT allow officers to enter the home without consent
• Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window so you can inspect it • You have the right to remain silent • If you chose to speak, step outside and close the door
Question #5 – What should I do if I am stopped for Questioning?
• Stay Calm • Ask if you are free to leave…if you are under arrest, you have a right to know why • You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions…if you wish to remain silent, tell the Officer OUT LOUD • You DO NOT have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings…if you DO consent, it can affect you later in Court
Question #6 – What should I do if I am arrested?
• DO NOT resist arrest • Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately • You have a right to make a local phone call • Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested • DO NOT answer any questions or sign ANYTHING before talking with a Lawyer
Question #7 – What should I do if I am stopped in my Car?
• Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible – turn off the car, turn on the inside light if nighttime, open the window enough to hear the officer and place your hands on the wheel • Upon request, show your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance • If a Police Officer or Immigrant Agent asks to look inside your car – you can REFUSE to consent to the search • Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent
Question #8 – What should I do if I am taken into Immigration (ICE) Custody?
• You have a right to a lawyer – you will not be provided a lawyer, you will have to find a lawyer • You have a right to contact your consulate • Tell the ICE agent you wish to remain silent • DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING • Remember your “A” number and give it to your family – this is how they will be able to locate you • Keep a copy of your immigration documents with someone you trust
Question #9 – What should I do if I am contacted by the FBI?
• You do not have to answer any questions • Tell the Agent you want to speak to a lawyer first • If you agree to speak with the Agent, have a lawyer present
Question #10 – What should I do if I feel my rights have been violated?
• Remember police misconduct cannot be challenged on the street – do not physically resist
• Write down everything you remember – badge and patrol car numbers, agency details, obtain contact information for witnesses, and seek medical attention if injured and photograph injuries • File a written complaint • Call your local ACLU and/or immigrant friendly community based organization
*Source of Information – American Civil Liberties Union (www.aclu.org)
MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.
Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, January 22, 2016!
Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our H1B Visa Lawyer blog!