What to do when arrested or detained by Immigration

The media has reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is preparing for a series of raids that will target families who fled to the U.S. last year. The campaign will be conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, possibly beginning in January, and will likely target adults and children who have already been given a removal order or who have prior convictions. People could be detained wherever they are found and then deported.
Immigrants arrested at work, on the street, during a traffic stop, or at home do have certain rights. Keep these points in mind if you are concerned that you, a friend, or relative could be arrested and detained.

  1. Have documents ready
  • The person’s full name, aliases, date of birth, alien number, “A” number or “USCIS number”, and information about entry into the U.S.
  • Documents of any prior deportation orders, arrests, or convictions.
  • Copies of all documents filed with USCIS
  • Any information or documentation that shows ties to the community, family, or employment history.
  • Phone numbers for the person’s consulate. The U.S. will not provide a free attorney to people detained and in immigration proceedings. Consulates might provide legal assistance or can help you find a qualified lawyer.
  • Get a power of attorney, which is a document that allows an individual to act on the detainee’s behalf.
  • Make arrangements for child care if a guardian is detained.
  • Have a supply of medication ready if needed.
  1.  If officers come to your home:
  • Stay calm.
  • Be polite.
  • Never lie.
  • Ask to see a warrant signed by judge. If they do not have one, then you can refuse to let them in.
  1. If ICE is inside your home to make an arrest remember:
  • Ask them to go outside unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.
  • If they come inside without your permission tell them that you do not consent to them being in your home. Politely ask them to leave.
  • If they search your home tell them that you do not consent to a search.
  • If ICE does make an arrest, inform them of any childcare arrangements or medical issues.
  1. If someone is arrested remember:
  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • You have the right to speak with a lawyer.
  • Never ever lie.
  • You do not have to tell officers about where you were born, what your immigration status is, or your criminal record.
  • You are not required to give them any documents or your passport unless they have a warrant from a judge. Tell them you want to speak with a lawyer.
  • You are not required to sign anything.
  • Write down the name and phone number of the deportation officer assigned to your case.
  • Do not sign anything without talking to a lawyer.
  • You have the right to contact your Consulate.

Immigrant Defense Project

  • free legal helpline (212) 725-6422
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