If you’re an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S., you may be worried about your ability to remain in the country. The president’s “deportation force” is trying to remove millions of immigrants from the United States. This has made many immigrants fearful to go to work—or even leave their home.
But what if an officer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) comes to your house? What are your rights, and how should you respond?
Ask for identification
If someone comes to your house unexpectedly, speak to them through the closed door. Ask them to identify themselves. They may mention the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration or a different agency.
Ask for a warrant
While keeping the door closed, ask the officer whether they have a warrant. There are two types of warrants they may have:
- A search warrant (to search your house)
- An arrest warrant (to arrest you or someone else in your house)
Examine the warrant
If the officer has a warrant, ask them to slide it under the door for you to look at it. ICE can issue an arrest warrant themselves, but a search warrant must come from a judge. On the warrant, search for:
- The agency that issued the warrant (ICE or a court)
- The warrant type (arrest warrant or search warrant)
- Your name—or the name of someone in your house
- Your address
- A signature
Keep officers out
If the officer has a warrant for your arrest—but not to search your house, do not let the officer in your house. Letting an officer into your house gives them the right to question any other undocumented people in your house. However, an officer may only enter your house if they have a search warrant or if you give them permission.
Don’t answer questions
If the officer has an arrest warrant, you may go outside to talk to the officer. However, do not answer any questions, and do not sign anything. Do not show them any identification or immigration documents. Request a lawyer right away. If you are arrested, follow these instructions.
Being an immigrant in the U.S. is becoming stressful and scary. In order to protect yourself, educate yourself on the law and your rights. It’s important to have a plan and know how to react if you encounter a problem.