Today’s political climate has led to an increase in the amount of people who have been stopped by authorities questioning their immigration status. It has happened to green card holders, people visiting the country and even legal U.S. citizens.
That is why it is important for you to know your rights if you are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
What to Do if ICE Questions Your Immigration Status
Regardless if you are a citizen of the U.S. or not, you have rights when you are detained by ICE agents. Knowing these rights could prevent you from making a mistake that could lead to you being detained and held in custody for a period of time.
If you are stopped by ICE agents who are questioning your immigration status, here is what you need to do:
- Remain calm – This situation can be extremely stressful, but you must remain calm. Be courteous to the agents. Do not attempt to run away or resist arrest.
- Exercise your right to remain silent – You do not have to answer questions asked by ICE agents. If they ask about your citizenship status, politely state that you are exercising your right to remain silent. Answering questions could hurt your case.
- Never lie about your citizenship status – If ICE agents ask you to show them your immigration papers, show them the documents.
Exercising your rights could prevent you from being detained by ICE. However, if you are detained, there are a different set of rights you need to know about.
What to Do if You are Detained by ICE
If ICE has questioned you and decided to detain you, you need to protect yourself by knowing your rights. Here’s what to do if you are detained by ICE:
- Do not sign any documents – Many times, ICE agents will try to
coerce you to sign documents, such as voluntary departure or stipulated removal paperwork. Do not believe what the agents say and do not sign these documents without first speaking to an experienced attorney. Signing any of these documents could lead to your deportation without a hearing.
- Contact your consulate – One of the first things you should do is contact your consulate or ask ICE agents to contact the consulate and notify them of your arrest. Your consulate’s job is to protect you.
- Ask to call your lawyer – You have the right to have an attorney present before you answer any questions. Unlike in criminal cases, you are not provided a public defender, but you should inform authorities that you do not plan to answer any questions without having your lawyer present.
- Call the 24/7 ICE hotline – ICE has set up a hotline that you can call at all hours of the day and night if you believe you have been unlawfully detained based on your immigration status. The number is (877) 246-8253. It can also be found on the paperwork you receive when you are detained.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime and is worried how this may impact their immigration status, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable criminal lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing criminal charges for more than 35 years. Let us help now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.