Homes and the workplace do not provide asylum against officers from the Department of Homeland Security or US Immigration and Customs. But you have important rights when immigration enforcement officers show up at your home or workplace.
Rights at home
Immigration enforcement may not enter your home without a warrant issued by a court or government agency granting permission for a search or an arrest. ICE can issue arrest warrants while courts have the sole authority to issue search warrants.
You should keep the door close when an officer arrives and ask for their identification. Ask the officer for the warrant and them to slip it under the closed door.
Remember that you consent to entry and may surrender rights if the officer asks to come in your home and you let them. Officers are not allowed to force you to consent to their entry.
A valid warrant should contain your name and address and the signature of a judge or official. If you have trouble reading the warrant or need a translation, try to seek help with reading or translation. Return any warrant that appears invalid to the officer by sliding it under the door and tell that them that it is incorrect.
If the warrant was issued by a court and valid, you should let the officers in your house. You do not have to let the agent in your house if the warrant was issued by ICE. If the warrant was issued by ICE for your arrest, meet the officers outside because they may question anyone in your home if they enter.
Do not answer any questions, reveal your country of origin, or sign any documents if you meet the officer outside. Ask to speak to your attorney.
Do not show any of your documents. You should never possess false documents. It is also recommended that you keep copies of your birth certificate, immigration papers and other important documents at a friend’s or relative’s house in case you are detained.
You should also assure that someone you trust knows your whereabouts. Know how to reach them in case you are detained by immigration officers.
Rights at work
Immigration officers may not enter your workplace without the owner or manager’s permission. Officers may question you, however, if they were given permission to enter.
You have the right to stay silent and to speak to an attorney before you answer any questions. You are not required to tell the officer where you were born or information about your immigration status. You do not have to show your immigration documents. If asked, tell the officer you want to talk to your attorney.
Union contracts may also contain additional protections. These include requiring a warrant before immigration officials may enter the workplace, immediate notification to the union so they can provide legal assistance, prohibitions against the employer participating in computer verification of your immigration or work authorization status, and the employer’s agreement that it will not reveal the names, addresses or immigration status of employees unless legally required.
An attorney can help assure that immigration enforcement complies with the law. Speaking with an attorney as soon as possible helps assure that you do not surrender important rights.