Know Your Legal Rights as an Immigrant in the USA

Know Your Legal Rights as an Immigrant in the USA

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In America, the past couple of years have been difficult on many people and especially on African-Americans, minorities, DACA youth and immigrants because of the new rules and regulations that have been stripping their rights away, in addition to them facing constant hate, racism and discrimination. It has not been pretty. Most recently, following the detention centers crisis, where the children of illegal immigrants were forcibly separated from their families and put in holding facilities for weeks, you as an immigrant in the US need to know your rights now. Everyone in the USA has rights under the U.S. Constitution and other laws, citizen or not. Thanks to the benefits of working with New York immigration law firm, we have gathered these rights for you so you can stay informed:

You have the right to stay silent

When faced with the police or ICE, you might understandably be nervous. Stay calm and if you want to stay silent, state it out loud saying “I have the right to remain silent” then contact your attorney right away. Immigration officers can use anything you say against you so do not answer any questions until your lawyer is present.

You have the right to refuse search consent

You can refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home. If police or immigration officers come to your home, you do not have to open the door unless they have a “search” or “arrest” warrant. Ask them to show it to you through the window or slip it under the door. They cannot search your home unless they have a search warrant signed by a judge. If they start searching your house, do not run. Stay and document everything using your phone. Avoid physical resistance because it will affect your case.

You have the right to leave calmly, if you are not under arrest

If you were stopped in a public place, know that ICE is not allowed to arrest you unless they have a warrant with your name on it. Ask the officer “Am I detained or under arrest?” If they say no, ask them “Am I free to leave?” If they say yes, leave calmly and do not run. In case you were arrested, you have the right to know why. Remain calm, do not resist and ask for your attorney.

You have the right to a lawyer

The first thing you need to do if you are detained or questioned is to ask for your lawyer. If you do not have an attorney, the government is not responsible of providing one for you but you can ask for a list of free or low-cost lawyers. Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone except your legal advisor.

You have the right to call the consulate of your home country

If you are not a US citizen, you have the right to speak with the consulate of your home country.

You have the right not to sign what you do not understand

If you do not understand a document or a paper, do not sign it. It might be a voluntary departure or a stipulated removal and you might lose your chance of staying in the US. Do not sign anything until you consult with your lawyer.

You have the right to record names and details

You can record the names, badge numbers, car numbers and the agency of the officers searching your home or questioning and arresting you. Write down all the details you remember and take photos of any injuries, if you were injured during an arrest or a questioning. This information is important in case of any misconduct or if your rights were violated and they can be used to file a complaint.

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