What to do in a raid or arrest

Everyone who lives in the U.S. has certain legal rights, regardless of your immigration status. Our legal rights are in the U.S. Constitution, a document that protects us from bad or unfair treatment by law enforcement or the government. To protect yourself, learn about the right to be silent, the right to talk to a lawyer, your rights inside your home or on the street, and more.

If you are in a raid or being arrested:

  • You do not have to answer questions about your legal status, where you were born, or how you came to the U.S.  You can tell the officer, "I have the right to remain silent."
  • You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you answer any questions. You can tell the officer that you want to talk to your lawyer first.  
  • You have the right to refuse consent to be searched. At your home, the police or immigration agents need a "warrant" or your permission to come in.  A warrant is an order signed by a judge. You can ask to see the warrant. You can refuse to open the door and tell them they cannot come into your home without a warrant.
  • You do not have to sign papers that you do not understand. Wait until you talk to a lawyer. Do not let someone scare you into signing papers.
  • Stay calm and think before you talk or act.

To be ready for a raid or arrest:

  • Know your rights: to remain silent, to ask for a lawyer, and when to ask to see a warrant.
  • Carry a Know-Your-Rights card with you that you can show to ICE or the police if you are stopped or questioned.
  • Have an emergency plan for your family: memorize important phone numbers (like a lawyer or emergency contact), identify someone to take care of your children if you are detained, keep all important documents and information for yourself and your children in a safe place at home.
  • Figure out what identity documents you should carry with you at all times. Do not use or carry a fake I.D. or information. Avoid carrying IDs from another country. Bad documents or lies can make your situation worse.
  • Make sure your family members can find you if you are detained. They can use the ICE detainee locator. It is helpful for them to have your A-number, if you have been issued one by ICE or border patrol.

 

Additional Resources

  • A video on your legal rights and what to do if you are stopped by the police, or law enforcement comes to your door. 
  • A booklet on what happens and what to do if you are detained from the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and Detention Watch Network.
  • A guide to creating a Family Preparedness Plan from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Resources

Only lawyers and BIA accredited representatives (BIA reps) are qualified to give immigration legal advice.

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