I have NO legal status and I am being stopped by a police officer or ICE Agent. What Do I Do?
Author: Diego Matus
Regardless of your immigration status, you are guaranteed rights under the Constitution. When stopped by a police officer, make sure you:
- REDUCE any risk to yourself or loved ones and do not lie about your status or provide false documents
- DON’T answer unnecessary, incriminating questions by the officer OR make suspicious, sudden movements
- COOPERATE and be polite with law enforcement
Even if you are undocumented or unauthorized, you have the same right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration status with the police.
- If you have to, you must show your papers to the police
If an agent asks to search you, your car, or your home, keep in mind the following:
- If the officer asks to search you or your car, the agent does cannot search you without your consent or probable cause
- If the officer asks to search inside your home, ask the officer if they have a warrant and tell them to show it to you
ICE agents will often pretend to be police:
- ICE agents can pretend to ask about identity theft or an ongoing investigation
- If this happens, find out if they are DHS or ICE and you do not have to let them into your home or search your car
I have been arrested, what now?
- Be aware that you may be arrested even if: your conviction is from years ago; you didn’t serve time in jail; your case was minor or a misdemeanor; you’ve been an LPR for a long time; and/or all other members of your family are US citizen
If I know I’m at risk, what can I do?
- Make a plan It is always important to talk with your loved ones in the event you are stopped and taken into custody.
- Talk to us as a firm with experience in both criminal defense and immigration, we understand what is at stake for people who are in Immigration proceedings or at risk of deportation. If you have been arrested contact us immediately so we can best advise you and your loved ones what the best course of action is.
To get in touch with our immigration firm, contact us online or at (225) 396-5262.