• James C. Hawkins

Know Your Rights if You are Stopped by ICE



Being stopped or questioned by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be a terrifying experience. You may be scared and unsure of what to do. However, if you prepare in advance, you will know your rights so you can do what is in your best interest. You can only assert your rights when you are certain of what they are. It is important to realize that the ICE agent may not even know what your legal rights are and may never have been presented with the legal facts of the situation.


What is a Warrant for Arrest of Alien?

A Warrant for Arrest of Alien is a document that is issued by the Department of Homeland Security. It is not issued by a judge and it does not require you to respond. You do not have to open your door to an ICE officer whether that is the door to your home or to your vehicle. The ICE agent may present you with a Warrant for Arrest of Alien, and while this document sounds scary, it is not an official legal arrest warrant. Under the U.S. Constitution, only a judge may issue an arrest warrant. Therefore, the ICE document does not require you to surrender under the U.S. Constitution.


What are Your Rights?

You have rights and you should assert them if you are stopped or questioned by ICE. These rights include:

● Right to remain silent

● Right to an attorney

● You do not have to sign anything

● You are not required to grant access

● Take photos (as long as you are not on government property)

You may state that you wish to remain silent. Remember that anything you say can be used against you later in your immigration case. If you have an attorney, request to call him or her immediately. Tell the officer that you want to exercise your right to an attorney. Do not open the door or allow ICE agents into your home or your car. They do not have the right to enter unless you allow them inside.


Remember These Important Tips

If you are stopped by an ICE agent, remain calm. ICE agents will use their official status to try to get you to listen to their requests. They will not stop trying to get you to obey their commands. Therefore, you need to assert your rights immediately. Be respectful, but let the ICE agent know that you will not allow them to force you to do something that you do not have to do.

Take photos or notes of the officers’ names and badge numbers. Note the day, time, and location of the incident, the type of car they drove, and details about exactly what happened. Do not sign anything that is provided to you by an ICE agent before you speak to your attorney. Contact an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that you get treated fairly.


To learn more about immigration rights and to get the help you need, contact BlackHawk Immigration Consulting today.

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