What To Do If You’re Undocumented And ICE Is At Your Home Or Workplace.
The first and most important step is to remain calm and know your rights. If an ICE officer knocks on your door, do not open it. First, ask them to identify themselves by asking what agency they are with. Even if they say they are with the Department of Homeland Security or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, you still have the right to proceed as follows:
- Ask to see a warrant and have them slip it under the door. If they do not have a warrant, do not open the door or answer any questions. If they produce a warrant it MUST contain your correct name and address and a signature of the judge who issued the warrant. Chances are, the warrant will be in English, so if you have trouble reading it have someone in your household help, or snap a picture of it with your phone and send it to a bilingual friend or relative. If for any reason the warrant doesn’t look valid (your name is misspelled, wrong first name, wrong address, etc.), slide it back under the door and tell them it is incorrect. If the warrant looks correct, make sure it was issued by a court.
- If the warrant is valid, you must let the officer enter. However, in most cases, a warrant for your arrest does not entail a search of your home. If all looks valid, step outside to discuss it with the officer. This is especially important if you live with others who might have immigration concerns. Remember, if the officer asks if he or she can come in and you say “yes”, that gives the officer legal consent to enter your home or place of work.
- Once outside with the officer, do not answer any questions and do not sign any papers. Tell the officer you want to talk with an attorney before speaking any further. Do not show any papers that identify the country of your origin.
- The same applies if officers enter your workplace. You have the right to keep silent and seek the guidance of an attorney before you answer any questions. You have the right to withhold where you came from or show any papers related to your country of origin, even if at work. Keep reiterating that you wish to speak with an attorney.
- Document everything. You have the right to take pictures, record conversations, and take note of the officers’ license plates and badge numbers. All this can be done using your smart phone. Don’t let fear freeze you from documenting what’s happening around you. It could be invaluable should you be required to appear in court.
- Check your status to see if you are eligible for Parole in Place. Parole in place is designed to protect foreign nationals who are spouses, widows, widowers, parents, sons or daughters of active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces, in the Selected Reserve of the U.S. Ready Reserve or a military veteran who served in the Selected Reserve (even if deceased). To prove you are eligible, you must submit Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and submit it to your local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office. If granted, you will need to show any ICE officer who is legally authorized to see it a copy of the approval. Never turn over the original.
- Know who to call for legal advice. Have an immigrations attorney’s name and number on you at all times that you can call should you ever find yourself in this situation.
At Diaz Shafer, P.A., we offer expert assistance with any legal matter involving immigration, including immigration services for individuals, businesses, military personnel, and deportation defense. We are experienced, multi-lingual, and proven in the courtroom. To learn more, visit www.diazshafer.com.