What to Do When ICE Agents Knock at Your Door, According the ACLU

As the Trump administration gears up for immigration raids across the country after July 4, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is expected to deport more immigrants in the fiscal year 2019 than it did in 2018.

President Donald Trump made the threat to launch the nationwide roundup last month, which involves ICE agents getting set to round up about 2,000 people in 10 cities, including Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore.

The plan was reportedly postponed and is set to commence after the Fourth of July holiday, Fortune reports.

On Monday, Trump announced in the Oval Office that “After July 4, a lot of people are going to be brought back out.”

Along with the threat of deportation, the announcement also brought about concerns of potential mistreatment and abuse among many immigrants that have been put in ICE’s crosshairs. 

 

What many immigrants do not realize, however, is that they have guaranteed rights under the U.S. Constitution regardless of their immigration status. Oftentimes, knowing one’s rights as a citizen and how to exercise them can make a difference in how to best navigate the procedures of ICE investigations.

But what do you do when ICE agents start knocking at your doorstep?

According to the nonprofit organization American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), it is important to “Stay calm and keep the door closed.” It noted that while opening the door does not give them permission to come inside, it is still “safer to speak to ICE through the door.”

In relation to such incident, ACLU listed your rights below as guaranteed by the constitution:

  1. You have the right to remain silent, even if the officer has a warrant.
  2. You do not have to let police or immigration agents into your home unless they have certain kinds of warrants.
  3. If the police 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. But a warrant of removal/deportation (Form I-205) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.

ACLU noted the following steps that you can take when the police or ICE arrives at your home:

  1. Ask if they are immigration agents and what they are there for.
  2. Ask the agent or officer to show you a badge or identification through the window or peephole.
  3. Ask if they have a warrant signed by a judge. If they say they do, ask them to slide it under the door or hold it up to a window so you can inspect it.
  4. Don’t lie or produce any false documents. Don’t sign anything without speaking with a lawyer first.
  5. Do not open your door unless ICE shows you a judicial search or arrest warrant naming a person in your residence and/or areas to be searched at your address. If they don’t produce a warrant, keep the door closed. State: “I do not consent to your entry.”
  6. If agents force their way in, do not resist. If you wish to exercise your rights, state: “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.”
  7. If you are on probation with a search condition, law enforcement is allowed to enter your home.

The NGO’s guide also listed other relevant information on immigrants’ rights along with some steps to take in other situations involving encounters with ICE officers. The guide included pointers on how to react to police questioning, getting stopped by ICE agents and getting detained.

According to the post, the general idea in such situations is to

  1. Stay calm and do not resist or obstruct the agents or officers.
  2. Do not lie or give false documents.
  3. Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.

The guide also advised to “Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer. Make emergency plans if you have children or take medication.”

Check out the entire guide via ACLU.org.

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