Concern is high among immigrant communities amid the anti-immigration agenda imposed by the new administration, which is particularly targeting Mexicans other Latin Americans and Muslims, fueled in part by President Donald Trump’s vows to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.
The situation has generated significant confusion as to the rights of people who are stopped and questioned by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The fact is that even undocumented immigrants have rights.
ICE officers must have a reason for approaching a person. In other words, ICE agents must have a probable cause to investigate, but there is discrepancy: That doesn’t mean agents can’t take someone into custody.
ICE officials are required to present different kinds of warrants, depending on whether they are detaining someone in public or entering an individual’s home. If ICE officials stop someone on the street, they can use a so-called “administrative warrant of removal.” When immigration officers demand to enter someone’s home, they must present a search warrant or an arrest warrant signed by a judge that specifically names the person of interest.
Whether you’re a citizen or not, you have the right to remain silent and the right to ask for an attorney if you are detained. Experts advise exercising both of these rights, but in the meantime, provide any immigration paperwork—work authorization cards, visas or green cards that you may have.
DHS and ICE is continuing to follow the so-called sensitive locations memo, a 2011 directive that advised against questioning people at schools, churches and hospitals. But that might not always be the case. Legally, immigration officials carrying the appropriate warrant can arrest people in these locales if they believe there is a threat to public safety or evidence pertaining to a criminal case.