In recent weeks, the Trump Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have discussed immigration raids targeted at sanctuary cities. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the immigration raids on Los Angeles have been temporarily delayed. However, these raids, or other large-scale federal immigration enforcement operations could still be coming to California.
At this time, it is essential that everyone knows how to protect themselves and their family. If you are approached or stopped by federal immigration officers, you need to know your legal rights. Below, our deportation attorney provides an overview of four important things that you need to do if you are stopped by ICE agents in Southern California.
What to Do If Immigration Officers Stop You in Public
Ask If You are Free to Go
First and foremost, if you are stopped by ICE you should ask if you are free to go. While remaining polite, simply ask “Am I free to leave?” If the answer is ‘yes’, then you can say that you are not interested in answering any further questions and you can leave. If the answer is ‘no’, then you should exercise your right to remain silent.
Do Not Answer Any Questions
You are under no obligation to answer questions asked by ICE officers. Under the Fifth Amendment, every person in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, has the right to remain silent. Decline to answer any questions asked by ICE and request to speak to your immigration lawyer immediately.
Refuse to Consent to a Search
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement may ask to search your person, your car, or your home. Never consent to a search. If you let ICE search your belongings, they will generally have the legal right to do so. However, if you say no, the search may be ruled unlawful. To be clear, immigration agents may still conduct the search — but a court may not allow any of the ‘evidence’ obtained in that search into official legal proceedings.
Do Not Sign Any Documents
Finally, one of the most important things that you should know if you are stopped by ICE in public: never sign any documents. In many cases, ICE agents try to pressure immigrants into signing things that are not well-explained and that they do not understand. This is an unethical practice. Know your rights: you do not have to sign any document. Always ask to speak to your immigration lawyer. Your attorney will make sure that your legal rights are protected.
Discuss Your Case With Our Deportation Lawyer Today
At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our deportation lawyer fights tirelessly to protect the rights and interests of immigrants. With more than fifteen years of experience, Mr. Goldstein has successfully handled the complete range of immigration cases. For a confidential consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our Los Angeles law office today.