If you’ve been following the news lately, you know that tensions are running high when it comes to the subject of immigration. Immigrants in the U.S. are facing growing concerns about their ability to stay in the country. If you’re an undocumented immigrant, just seeing a police officer on the street may give you reason to panic.
In this type of climate, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with anxiety. However, it’s important to understand that even as an undocumented immigrant, you still have basic rights under American law. In today’s post, we discuss some basic things to do—and avoid doing—if you’re arrested by the police:
Stay calm.Don’t resist arrest. Keeps your hands out so the police can see them.
Ask to see the warrant. If the police tell you they have a warrant—to search your house, for your arrest or for your deportation—you have the right to see it. A search warrant will detail the areas of your property that the police can search and the specific items that may be seized.
Call your lawyer. You have the right to a lawyer. If you don’t have one, the government will provide one for you for free. However, since immigrants are being targeted more forcefully than ever, it’s advisable to have an experienced immigration attorney at the ready.
Don’t say anything until your lawyer arrives. If you are arrested, you must identify yourself. However, aside from giving an officer this information, you do not have to say anything else. You have the right to remain silent.
Don’t sign anything without talking to your lawyer. Don’t sign anything you don’t completely understand. Ask for an interpreter if necessary.
Facing arrest as an undocumented immigrant can be extremely stressful. Having a qualified immigration attorney on your side can greatly reduce your burden.