I've Been Pulled Over by ICE or the Police, What Should I Do?
One of the questions we in the immigration section at Guest & Gray get most often is “What happens if ICE pulls me over?” Let’s take a look at what you should do in that situation, and what your rights are.What to Say to Them When They Stop You
If you are over 18 and on a visa here in the US, you should carry proof of that with you at all times. When the police pull you over, they are allowed to ask you to show them your ID, registration for your car, your proof of insurance, and/or driver’s license. If they ask you your name here in Texas, or to identify yourself and give them your name. If you are not a US citizen and you have your immigration papers, you have to show the to the police if they ask. You do not have to answer any other questions about your immigration status.
Customs and Border Patrol are also conducting roving patrols and may also attempt to pull you over. They must have reasonable suspicion that the driver or passengers in your car committed some immigration violation or a federal crime, and they must have a probable cause to continue the stop. If they detain your car you may ask them about the probable cause basis for the stop, and they should tell you. If they do not, do not argue, just make sure you have asked, and note their names and badge numbers if you think your rights are being violated.You Have the Right to Remain Silent
You do not have to discuss your immigration status with the police, or tell them what country you are from, or discuss your citizenship status with them. Any other people in the car with you, whether it is a passenger or a driver, do not have to speak to the police either. Remember, anything you tell them will be used by ICE to determine your immigration status, and at your removal/deportation hearing later.You Have to Give Your Consent to be Searched
If the police asks you if they can search you or the car you’re in, you have the right to tell them no. Without your consent, they can only search you and/or your belongings or your car if you they have probable cause.Do Not Lie
Now, if you are not a US Citizen, and the police asks to see your immigration papers, you must show them to them if you have them with you. You do NOT have to answer any other questions. If you do not have them, tell the officer you do not want to answer any questions and that you want to speak to a lawyer before you do.
Do not EVER lie to the police, or to an ICE agent, or provide them with false papers or documents. Doing so will only get you into more trouble in the end and could result in removal/deportation, and a lifetime ban from the United States.Remain Calm and Keep Yourself Safe
The most important thing to remember is that you need to remain calm. If they force their way in without a proper warrant, or force your door open, or search you without your consent, you still need to remain calm for your own safety. Try to safely get their names and badge numbers, and remind them you did not consent and you want to speak to a lawyer before you answer any questions. If you have a family member present, calmly tell them they should film the encounter, or write down the badge names and numbers.
You should never run from a police officer or from an ICE agent, or resist arrest, or obstruct their arrest of a family member. You should never argue with the police even if you believe they are violating your rights. Always keep your hands in front of you where the police or ICE can see them, and do not make any sudden movements or reach for anything without letting the officer know that’s what you’re doing.Remain Calm and Keep Yourself Safe
If police detain you, you have the right to call your family or a lawyer. If this happens, please call us here at Guest & Gray at 972-564-4644 immediately.