What you can do if ICE asks for your papers
Immigrants can utilize basic rights, advocates point out.
The anti-immigrant MIAMI — rhetoric and some decisions of the Donald Trump government have revived the fear of immigration raids and mass deportations. Recently, agents of the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided dozens of 7-Eleven stores nationwide on suspicion that they were hiring undocumented immigrants.
And in South Florida, U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped a Greyhound bus on the way to Orlando and demanded citizenship documentation, taking a Jamaican citizen in custody. In confrontations like those, whether in public spaces, places of employment or private homes, legal and undocumented immigrants can exercise basic constitutional rights in response to the authorities.
“These enshrined rights are applicable to all people regardless of their immigration status and are a muscle that people should use,” said Adonia Simpson, director of the Family Defense program of Americans for Immigration Justice, based in Miami. However, Simpson said, that “does not guarantee that the rights are not violated; that immigrants are not detained.”
The laws include the right to remain silent, the right to deny permission to a search of your person, vehicle or home, and the right to ask for a lawyer.
What should you do when the authorities ask for your papers?
Keep silent: Everyone has the right to remain silent by refusing to answer questions. It is advisable to give your name and the date of birth, so that your relatives can easily find you. But if you wish to exercise this right, say: “I exercise my right to remain silent.”
Do not lie or sign: You do not have to answer questions about place of birth or how you entered the country, or give explanations or excuses. But never lie, claiming to be a U.S. citizen if not, or give false identity documents. Do not sign papers without legal advice, or reveal your immigration status to anyone other than your lawyer.
Naturalized immigrants: Naturalized immigrants can inform agents that they are citizens of the United States. In theory, citizens should not be detained by ICE, but if they cannot immediately corroborate their citizenship status by presenting a passport, voter’s card, naturalization certificate and other evidence, then they can be taken to a detention center.
Permanent residents: The experts recommend that permanent residents keep their immigration documents with them, such as the permanent residence card or green card. In the case of foreigners with non-immigrant visas, the I-94 card, employment authorization or other valid document that proves the registration with the Citizenship and Immigration Service. If you do not have them, stay calm and remain silent.
Memorize ID numbers: This includes the foreign A # registration number with a nine-digit series and, if arrested, the prison identification number or name. Also memorize the telephone number of a close relative, any medications you take, your current immigration status and any criminal records.
Consult a lawyer: Before answering any questions, you can immediately ask for a lawyer. You are also entitled to a local call and to contact the consulate of your home country.
Deny entry to the home: If ICE agents arrive at your home, you do not have to open the door unless they have a search or arrest warrant. Ask them to pass the order under the door and verify that it is signed by a judge. A deportation/removal order does not authorize entry without permission.