Understanding your rights as an immigrant

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Firm News |

As someone who lives in California but has not yet established legal citizenship in the United States, it may serve you well to know your rights when interacting or dealing with law enforcement or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Your rights may differ somewhat depending on the specifics of your situation. So, it is important that you understand what rights you have under different circumstances.

According to the ACLU, you maintain certain rights under the U.S. Constitution regardless of whether you are a legal U.S. citizen.

Your rights when questioned about immigration status

You maintain the right to remain silent when authorities, immigration officials or others inquire about your immigration or citizenship status. You also maintain the right to refuse a search request. However, if immigration officials ask to see your immigration paperwork and you have it on you, which you should if you are over 18, you do have to produce it.

Your rights during a traffic stop

You have similar rights when stopped in your vehicle. You have the right to remain silent and the right to refuse a search request for your vehicle. If placed under arrest, you have the right to a court-appointed attorney. If detained by ICE, you also have the right to a lawyer, but ICE does not have to get one for you.

Regardless of whether you are interacting with authorities or immigration officials, take care to remain calm and polite. Do not provide false documentation and make sure to keep important phone numbers on hand in the event of an arrest or detainment.