Immigration Law: What to Do If You’re Approached by ICE

Under former President Trump, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) assumed an aggressive approach to arrest and deportation, and in some areas of the country that campaign has continued. Legally, the federal government is permitted to deport immigrants who either do not have lawful immigration status or who do have status but who have certain criminal convictions. Targets of the agency may include those with pending criminal cases, final orders of removal, those who have committed fraud or who have misrepresented themselves in government applications, and those who the agency believes pose a threat.

In most cases, ICE arrests are not random: agents will have a specific person in mind and will seek them out at their place of work, at courthouses, or at home. It is important that you are aware of your rights and what you should do if you are rightly or wrongly approached by ICE. Having a plan in place is essential to protecting yourself and your family. If you believe that you are at risk for deportation, the first thing that you should do if is to talk to an attorney who is experienced in immigration law. They will help you navigate the road ahead and equip you with the vital information that you need.

With that in mind, it is important that you are always aware of your surroundings and that you are prepared for what to do if you are approached by ICE. Staying calm is the key, as agents often rely on the element of surprise. If asked any questions, the very first thing that you should do is ask whether you are free to go and if the answer is yes simply say that you’d rather not speak with them or answer any of their questions and walk away.

If the officers indicate that you are not free to go, your immediate response should be to tell them that you are going to use your right not to answer questions and then to say that you want to speak to a lawyer. At that point, you should not say anything else unless they move to search inside of your pockets. If they do that, immediately tell them that you do not consent to a search.

In addition to remaining quiet, it is essential that you do not lie to the agents or provide them with any false documents. You should also be compliant and not try to run away or resist arrest. Allowing your immigration law attorney to answer on your behalf is the best way to preserve your rights and keep a bad situation from getting worse.

If you’d like more information on protecting your rights, contact our immigration law attorneys today.