How to Handle Interactions with ICE
If you are not a US citizen, you are not protected from the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, regardless of your status, you do have Constitutional rights. Here are some basic ways to express them if the situation arises:
What to do if ICE comes to your door
- Stay calm. Keep the door closed. Start recording everything with your phone! (it will help us to defend you).
- Ask if the officers are immigration agents and what they are there for.
- Ask them to show you a badge or identification through the window or peephole.
- Speak to ICE through the door.
- If they say they have a warrant, ask them to slide it under the door. Look at it carefully. Make sure it is a judicial search or arrest warrant, issued by an actual judge, under your name or the name of someone in your house and, if a search warrant, make sure it lists the areas to be searched at your address. If it is not a warrant signed by a judge, you do not need to open the door.
- If they don’t produce a warrant, keep the door closed.
- Opening the door does not give them the right to enter the house. A warrant of removal/deportation (Form I-205) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent. Say: “I do not consent to your entry.”
- If the warrant is under your name, you can step outside. If it is under someone else’s name, have that person step outside. This is extremely important especially if there are other undocumented individuals in the house.
- If POLICE (not ICE) have an arrest warrant, they are legally allowed to enter the home of the person on the warrant if they believe that person is inside.
- You have the right to remain silent, even if the officer has a warrant.
- You do not have to answer any questions about your immigration status.
- Don’t lie or produce any false documents. Just don’t talk.
- Don’t sign anything without speaking with a lawyer first. Say “I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.”
- If agents force their way in, do not resist. If you wish to exercise your rights, say: “I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.”
- If you are on probation with a search condition, law enforcement IS allowed to enter your home.
- Hire an immigration attorney as soon as possible. Do not try to fight your case alone.
What to do if you are detained by ICE
- You have the right to call a lawyer or your family if you are detained, and you have the right to be visited by a lawyer in detention.
- If you are detained by ICE or Border Patrol, you have the right to hire a lawyer, but the government does not have to provide one for you.
- If ICE denies release after being arrested for an immigration violation, ask for a bond hearing before an immigration judge.
- Most people who are detained while their case is underway are eligible to be released on bond or with other reporting conditions. That does not mean you will be released on bond even if you are eligible; it depends on why you are detained, where, your options for relief, your ability to pay bond, who is the judge, and many other variables.
- Hire an immigration attorney as soon as possible. Do not try to fight your case alone. Seriously.