As an immigrant in the United States, you may eventually find yourself in a situation where ICE agents knock on your door. How you handle these interactions can make a big difference in your legal status in the country and what ICE will do going forward. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the process of an ICE visit to your home as an immigrant.
Answering The Door
When the ICE agents knock on your door, the first thing that you should do is ask if they have a warrant. They may have a warrant for your arrest, to search your property, or neither. When you ask about the warrant, be respectful and polite, but firm.
Allowing ICE In Your Home
You do not legally have to allow ICE to enter your home if they do not have a warrant. However, if they do have a warrant, you cannot legally obstruct their entry. The warrant is their legal right to enter the property. You do, however, have the right to ask for copies of the warrants, and they legally have to provide them to you.
Choosing Your Words Carefully
Even if the ICE agents do have the legal right to enter your property, it is important that you handle your communications carefully. Tell the officer that you wish to speak to your attorney before you answer any questions. Be honest in any responses you do provide, but remember that once you invoke your right to your attorney, you should no longer answer any questions until your attorney is present.
You can either call your attorney yourself or provide your attorney's card to the officer to have them call on your behalf. If you do not speak fluent English, you need to be sure that you do not respond to anything that you do not understand.
Signing Papers Legally
If the ICE officials or any other law enforcement officers hand you any paperwork to sign, have the paperwork reviewed by your lawyer first. Do not sign any forms unless you are certain that you understand everything that the paper says. Failing to understand the documents could inadvertently lead you to sign something that could get you deported or could potentially be confessing to a crime.
The more you understand about your legal immigration rights, the easier it is to handle an ICE visit appropriately. Talk with your immigration citizenship attorney today for more information.