How to React If You Get Stopped by the Police or ICE? | Eatontown NJ

How to React If You Get Stopped by the Police or ICE?

What To Do If You Are Stopped by ICE

How to React If You Get Stopped by the Police or ICE

One of the most stressful situations you can face as an undocumented immigrant is getting stopped by law enforcement or ICE. And being aware of your rights and knowing what they can and can’t do could help you face that situation.

As an immigrant, and even more, as an undocumented immigrant, getting stopped by law enforcement or ICE is something to fear. But as the saying goes, knowledge is power, and the more you know how to act, the better it will be for you.

We will cover some situations in this article that may seem similar, but there are some key elements on each one that you should know and could come in handy if you face one of those situations.

I’m going to talk about how to react if:

There’s one thing you need to do in any of these situations: stay calm. No matter what happens, the first thing you need to have in mind is to stay calm.

Having that in mind, let’s review each situation to check the differences each one has and what you can do. 

At Andres Mejer Law, we take a holistic approach and protect your rights. Talk to one of our New Jersey immigration attorneys today! Call us at (888) 695-6169 to schedule a consultation.


How to React If Law Enforcement Asks About Your Immigration Status

So, don’t run, argue, resist, or obstruct the officer, even if you believe your rights are being violated. Keep your hands where police can see them. You also shouldn’t lie about your status or provide false documents.

Like in the movies, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents, or other officials. Anything you tell an officer can later be used against you in immigration court.

  • If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you.
  • If an immigration agent asks if they can search you, you have the right to say no. Agents do not have the right to search you or your belongings without your consent or probable cause.
  • If you’re over 18, carry your papers with you at all times. If you don’t have them, tell the officer that you want to remain silent or that you want to consult a lawyer before answering any questions.
  • In some states, you must provide your name to law enforcement if you are stopped and told to identify yourself. But even if you give your name, you don’t have to answer other questions.
  • If you are pulled over while driving, the officer can require you to show your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance, but you don’t have to answer questions about your immigration status.

If you have immigration concerns, don’t hesitate to call our New Jersey immigration law firm at (888) 695-6169.


If You Get Stopped by the Police or ICE

Again, do not lie or give false documents. Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer. Make emergency plans if you have children or take medication.

You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may pat down your clothing if they suspect a weapon. 

If the police arrest you, you have the right to a government-appointed lawyer.

If you are detained by ICE, you have the right to consult with a lawyer, but the government is not required to provide one for you. You can ask for a list of free or low-cost alternatives.

You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country. (Separate rules apply at international borders and airports and for individuals on certain nonimmigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers.)

If you get arrested or detained, say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. Don’t say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer.

If the police have arrested you, you have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer.

If ICE detains you, you have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer inform the consulate of your detention.

Remember your immigration number (“A” number) and give it to your family. It will help family members locate you.

If you are a non-citizen: Ask your lawyer about the effect of a criminal conviction or plea on your immigration status. Don’t discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer. 

While you are in jail, an immigration agent may visit you. Do not answer questions or sign anything before talking to a lawyer. Read all papers thoroughly. Tell the officer you need an interpreter if you do not understand or cannot read the papers.

If you believe your rights were violated, write down everything you remember, including officers’ badges, patrol car numbers, and other details. Get the contact information for witnesses.

If you’re injured, seek medical attention immediately and take photographs of your injuries.

If you have immigration concerns, don’t hesitate to call our New Jersey immigration law firm at (888) 695-6169.


What to Do if the Police or ICE is at Your Home

Keep the door closed. Opening the door does not permit them to come inside, but it is safer to speak to ICE through the door. 

You have the right to remain silent, even if the officer has a warrant.

You do not have to let police or immigration agents into your home unless they have certain kinds of warrants.

If the police have an arrest warrant, they are legally allowed to enter the person’s home on the warrant if they believe that person is inside. But a warrant of removal/deportation (Form I-205) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.

Ask the agents to identify themselves, to show you a badge, and tell you what they are there for.  Ask if they have a warrant signed by a judge and show it to you if they do, sliding it down the door or through a window. 

Don’t open the door unless ICE presents you with a judicial search or arrest warrant naming a person in your home. If they don‘t have this warrant, you should keep your door closed and state, “I do not consent to your entry.”

If they force their entry, don’t resist and state, “I do not consent to your entry. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.”


If You Get Stopped by the Police, ICE, or Border Patrol While in Transit

If you’re in a car, pull over in a safe place as quickly as you can. Turn off the engine, turn on the internal light, and place your hands on the wheel. Upon request, show the police your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.

If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your papers, you must show them if you have them with you. If you’re over 18, you should carry your documents all the time. 

If you’re the passenger in a car, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, you can go calmly. 

You can refuse to consent to a search if an officer or immigration agent wants to look in your car. But if the police believe that your vehicle contains evidence of a crime, they can perform the search without your consent.

Any arrest or prolonged stop by Border Patrol requires probable cause. You may ask the agents about the basis for probable cause, and they should tell you.

If you’re on a plane, the pilot may refuse to fly if they believe there is a threat to the flight safety. But they cannot deny you on a flight because of bias based on your religion, race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, or political beliefs.

If you are on a bus or a train, Border Patrol agents may board in the 100-mile border region either at the station or while the bus is on its journey. They will ask passengers questions about their immigration status and show them immigration documents.

These questions should be brief and related to verifying one’s lawful presence in the U.S. You are not required to answer and can simply say you do not wish to do so. As always, you have the right to remain silent.

If you have immigration concerns, don’t hesitate to call our New Jersey immigration law firm at (888) 695-6169.


What Should You Do If You Get Detained While Your Immigration Case is Underway?

In most of these cases, it is usual for the detainee to be eligible for release on a bond or without other reporting conditions.

If you’re detained, you have the right to call your family or a lawyer and have the right to a visit by your lawyer, and you can have your attorney present at any hearing before an immigration judge. 

If you are denied release after being arrested for an immigration violation, ask for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. In many cases, an immigration judge can order that you be released or that your bond be lowered.


What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested and You Need to Challenge a Deportation Order?

You have the right to a hearing to challenge a deportation order unless you waive your right to a hearing, sign something called a “Stipulated Removal Order,” or take “voluntary departure.”

You have the right to an attorney, but the government does not have to provide one for you. If you have no lawyer, ask the court to allow you time to find one.

If you get arrested and are told that you do not have the right to see an immigration judge, you should speak with a lawyer immediately. There are some cases in which a person might not have a right to see an immigration judge. 

But even if this is your situation, you speak to a lawyer immediately because Immigration officers will not always know or tell you about exceptions that might apply to you.

If you fear persecution or torture in your home country, tell an officer and contact a lawyer immediately. You have additional rights if you have this fear.

These are some of the most common situations you may face when dealing with the law or immigration officers. I hope these tips are helpful and can help if you are ever in one of those situations.

Need help with your case? Seek the help of an immigration attorney right away. At Andres Mejer Law, our New Jersey immigration attorneys can provide the solution to your immigration concerns. Call (888) 695-6169 to schedule an appointment.

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