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What Should I Do if ICE Comes to my Door?

Immigration One of the questions we in the immigration section at Guest & Gray get most often is “What do I do if ICE comes to my door?” 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 First Arrive

When someone knocks on your door and asks you to open it, ask them if they are immigration or police, and what they are there for. Ask them to show you their identification through the door, and write down their names and badge numbers.

Then ask them if they have a warrant signed by a judge, and if they do, you want to see a copy of it - ask them to show it to you up to a window or slide a copy under your door so you can look at it.

You Do Not Have to Open the Door

Speak to ICE and answer their questions through the closed door. ICE may tell you to open the door, they may even tell you they have a warrant for your arrest, but unless they have a warrant signed by a judge, and they usually do not, they do not have the right to force you to open the door. Usually ICE will only have a Form I-205 Warrant of Removal and Deportation, which does NOT allow them to enter your home without your consent. You have the right to tell them they may not come in.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

You do not have to discuss your immigration status with the ICE agent, or tell them what country they are from, or discuss your citizenship status with them. 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 an immigration officer, or ICE agent, or member of the police asks you if they can search you, have you the right to tell them no. Without your consent, they can only search you and/or your belongings if you they have probable cause.

Do Not Lie

If you are over 18 and on a visa here in the US, you should carry proof of that with you at all times. Now, if you are not a US Citizen, and ICE asks to see your immigration papers, you must show them to them if you have them with you. If they ask you your name here in Texas, or to identify yourself and give them your name. 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 an ICE agent, border patrol, or the police, 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 an officer or agent, or resist arrest, or obstruct their arrest of a family member. You should never argue with the agent 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 ICE detains 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.

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