Immigration Tips: How to Handle ICE

Whether you are a legal or illegal immigrant to the United States, it is important that you know your legal rights, particularly when it comes to being approached by law enforcement or officers from the Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.  There are many different scenarios that you may encounter, and the most important thing for you to do is to remain calm and be entirely honest. Lying, producing false documents, running away or in some other way obstructing them from doing their work is only going to work against you, even if you believe that you are in jeopardy, being treated unfairly, or even illegally. Of course, being honest does not always mean that you need to speak.  Sometimes remaining silent is the best course of action.  Below you will find specific actions you should take in given situations:

  • If asked for your immigration papers – Provide them. You are required to present them to an immigration agent upon their request. If you are over 18, you should always have your papers with you. You are also required to show a driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance if you are pulled over while driving, but you do not have to answer questions about your immigration status.
  • If asked questions about your status – You have the right to remain silent. Keep in mind that one of the most basic tenets of American law is that anything that you tell law enforcement can later be used against you. It is often the smarter course of action to provide the officer with your name and then tell them that you wish to remain silent until your immigration attorney can answer for you. If entering or leaving the country you are required to answer this question.
  • If asked to submit to a search – You have the right to refuse. Law enforcement does not have the right to search you without probable cause or your consent.
  • If stopped by the police or ICE – Do not resist arrest or argue with the agents or officers. Make sure that you know the phone number for your immigration attorney and your family and have plans in place for urgent issues such as medication or childcare.
  • If you believe your rights were violated – Record officer badge numbers, patrol car numbers, agencies or precinct information, and any other detail. Provide this information to your immigration attorney.

If you are in need of legal help surrounding immigration, contact our experienced attorneys to set up a time to discuss your situation.