Everyone in the U.S. has certain rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. Those rights apply to everyone regardless of their immigration status. Some rights are more protected than other. For example, your home carries special protections that public spaces do not. Understanding and being familiar with those rights can help you navigate stressful encounters with immigration officials on your doorstep.
If you find yourself in the stressful situation of immigration officials coming to your home, remember you have the following rights:
If Immigration Officials are at your front door.
If immigration authorities knock on the front door of your home and ask to enter, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. Immigration authorities are only allowed to enter if they have a valid judicial search or arrest warrant with your name and address, signed by a judge.
In order for a search warrant to be valid, it must meet the following criteria:
- Must be signed by a judge – NOT an immigration official.
- Must contain the address of the home to be searched.
- Must describe the area to be searched.
Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to your front window so you can examine it. Immigration officials will usually have a warrant of deportation or removal, which is signed by an immigration official, not a judge, and does NOT give them permission to enter the home even if you or another occupant’s name is on it, unless you give them permission.
If the immigration official refuses to show you his/her warrant, tell them that because they have not demonstrated that they have a valid warrant, you are exercising your constitutional right and will not open the door to them. Remember, if you do open the door and let immigration officials into your home, you are giving consent and it would be hard to argue that your constitutional rights were violated.
If Immigration Officials enter to your home with a valid warrant or with your consent.
- Stay calm.
- You have a right to stay silent.
- If you speak, do not lie.
- Call your immigration attorney.
- Do not sign any papers without your immigration lawyer present.
- Record details and names.
- Do not run away.
The attorneys at Kuck Baxter Immigration are here to help you understand your fundamental rights and how to use them to advocate for yourself.