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Know Your Rights

It is very important that all immigrants know their rights and understand how to be prepared in the event of an encounter with I.C.E. No one wants to think of the unthinkable, but being prepared can make a very difficult situation a little less impactful. For instance, do you know your rights? Do you who will take care of your children? What can you do now to plan your return to your birth country if you must return? How do you contact a lawyer from a detention facility? Read carefully the information below and create a family plan today!

Download the Know Your Rights flyer English version
Download the Know Your Rights flyer Spanish version

What to do if immigration, I.C.E. goes to your home?

Immigration and the police cannot enter your home without a warrant signed by a judge. Tell the agent to slide the warrant under the door or show it through a window.

If there is a warrant

Make yourself sure that the warrant includes your exact address, your name, or the name of someone who is in the house. If the order has your name or the name of a person who is at the house, it is better if the person named in the order steps out so as the officers do not enter the house.

If there is no warrant

If the agent has no warrant with your address or the warrant does not have your name or the name of someone who is in the house, do not open the door and say that you do not consent to the search. If the authorities enter without a warrant, ask for the agents’ names and badge numbers. Say again that you do not provide your consent to the authorities’ entrance.

What to do if your car is pulled over?

Never carry a false document in your car. Immigration or the police may search your car. If you do not have a driver’s license, you can say that you do not have one. You do not have a legal duty to show your passport.

What to say to immigration, I.C.E. or the police?

You only have the duty to reply if you are asked your name. You have the right to remain silent and to not answer other questions. Anything you say will be used against you. Ask if you are free to leave. If the answer is yes, leave calmly.

What to do if there is an arrest?

If a person is arrested, someone who is free must call an attorney as soon as possible. Memorize the phone number of an attorney or a person of your trust who is in the United States legally. If you are arrested, assert your right to make a phone call.

Create a family plan

  • Assign a power of attorney to a relative or person of your trust to manage your property and accounts during your absence.
  • Create an emergency contact list for your family. Share a copy with your children and relatives, with your children’s schools and with persons of your trust.
  • Prepare a power of attorney for the care of the minors. This document allows a relative who is not a child’s mother/father to register the child in public school, make school or health-related decisions and make other important decisions on behalf of the minor. This must be updated every year. Keep the school updated with name and contact information.
  • If your children were born in the U.S., apply for citizenship of the parents’ countries of origin. Contact your country of origin’s consulate.
  • It is the law to carry immigration documents. People 18 and older should always carry immigration documents.
  • Organize a folder with important documents. Keep it in a safe place (with certified English translations).
  • Find an immigration attorney. You should be able to trust your attorney and always carry your attorney’s information with you.
  • Avoid fraud.
  • Do not use a public notary to obtain legal advice. In the U.S., notaries are not attorneys and must not offer legal help.

When talking to a lawyer

Talk to a lawyer or representative who is accredited before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Request the following information from your legal advice provider: credentials, contract and how much you will pay, copies of the contract and every document filed in your case and payment receipts signed and dated by the provider in your language of choice. Keep your original documents in a safe place at your home and give copies of the requested documents to your legal advisor.