What to do when arrested or detained by Immigration
Immigrants arrested at work, on the street, during a traffic stop,
or at home do have certain rights. Keep these points in mind if
you are concerned that you, a friend, or relative could be arrested
1. Have documents ready
- The person’s full name, aliases, date of birth, alien number, “A” number or “USCIS number”, and information about entry into the U.S.
- Documents of any prior deportation orders, arrests, or convictions.
- Copies of all documents filed with USCIS
- Any information or documentation that shows ties to the community, family, or employment history.
- Phone numbers for the person’s consulate. The U.S. will not provide a free attorney to people detained and in immigration proceedings. Consulates might provide legal assistance or can help you find a qualified lawyer.
- Get a power of attorney, which is a document that allows an individual to act on the detainee’s behalf.
- Make arrangements for child care if a guardian is detained.
- Have a supply of medication ready if needed.
2. If officers come to your home:
- Stay calm.
- Be polite.
- Never lie.
- Ask to see a warrant signed by judge. If they do not have one, then you can refuse to let them in.
3. If ICE is inside your home to make an arrest remember:
- Ask them to go outside unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.
- If they come inside without your permission tell them that you do not consent to them being in your home. Politely ask them to leave.
- If they search your home tell them that you do not consent to a search.
- If ICE does make an arrest, inform them of any childcare arrangements or medical issues.
4. If someone is arrested remember:
- You have the right to remain silent.
- You have the right to speak with a lawyer.
- Never ever lie.
- You do not have to tell officers about where you were born, what your immigration status is, or your criminal record.
- You are not required to give them any documents or your passport unless they have a warrant from a judge. Tell them you want to speak with a lawyer.
- You are not required to sign anything.
- Write down the name and phone number of the deportation officer assigned to your case.
- Do not sign anything without talking to a lawyer.
- You have the right to contact your Consulate.
- Check out these informative FAQs from the Informed Immigrant that covers questions about DACA, ICE raids, and the BRIDGE bill. It is provided in both English and Spanish.
- If you have a general immigration question, need a referral, or to report immigration fraud call the Office for New Americans hotline that is managed by Catholic Charities. Lines are open from 9 am to 8 pm (EST), Monday through Friday. Assistance is provided regardless of legal status and offered in over 200 languages.
New Americans Hotline: 1-800-566-7636
Emergency Preparedness for Families
The new administration has directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to increase its focus on deportations of all undocumented immigrants. Undocumented parents of US citizen children fear separation if a parent is detained by immigration authorities. It is important to be prepared and know your rights. Hopefully no family will ever need to use an emergency plan but it is a good to be prepared and good for peace of mind.
This is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
- Designate a caretaker for your children. A Designation of a Person in Parental Relationship allows such an adult to make certain health and education decisions and is effective for six months. In the long-term, guardianship or custody could be considered.
- Memorize the caretaker's phone number. Discuss plans calmly with children and ensure they know the caretaker's phone number as well.
- Update emergency contact information at your children's school. Tell the school who may or may not pick up your children.
- Know what immigration options you may have. Certain individuals might be able to get status or change immigration status. Find out how a criminal record could impact a situation or if the record can be expunged. Call the New Americans Hotline listed below for referrals and advice.
- Know your rights if you are detained by ICE. Find this important information in the next section. Be aware that thieves are posing as fake ICE agents threatening deportation unless paid immediately. Ask to see the officer's credentials. Real ICE agents will never ask for money or threaten detainment for refusal to pay.
- Provide information on a child's medical conditions, doctor, and insurance to the designated caretaker and school.
- Obtain passports for children born in the United States.
- Ensure family and emergency contacts know how to find someone in detention. ICE has an online detainee locator.
- Keep copies of all important documents on the parent and children in a file and ensure children and caretakers know where to find the file.
For more information, see these flyers from the Immigrant Defense Project in English and Spanish.
Other Immigration Questions