Know Your Rights – Explained

Many immigrants are unaware of their rights in the United States. They are extremely important and can help protect you. Read on to learn more! Also refer to our Know Your Rights Cards, print one out and keep it with you. They are available in 4 languages: English, Español, 中文, عَرَبِيّ

Do Immigrants have constitutional rights?

Yes! The United States was founded on a series of laws and freedoms under the Constitution and everyone on U.S. soil enjoys these same rights and protections under the Constitution. This includes citizens, green card holders, and those with no status, whether they entered legally or illegally. Immigrants should familiarize themselves with this central document; it will help to understand the culture of the United States and it is important to understand the rights enshrined in it. Read it here.

What are some of these rights that I should be aware of?

For example, everyone has the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to refuse a search. If authorities want to search you, your house, your car, or any other possession, they need a warrant. You have the right to refuse to consent to a search.

Does the government have to provide me with an attorney?

Generally, no. The only time when a public defender will be appointed at no cost is in criminal proceedings. For immigration, bankruptcy, or probate court matters, everyone, immigrants and citizens alike, is responsible for securing their own representative.

If I am arrested, can I call my family or a representative of my country’s government?

Yes! Especially with cell phones, you are able to call your family. You can also contact your country’s consulate. We have had many cases where a client’s family or even the consulate has contacted our office.

What can I do if I feel my rights have been violated.

You should immediately seek legal help if you feel that your rights have been violated. For example, if evidence against you was obtained through an illegal search, we may be able to suppress that evidence.

What are a few things that I should be careful NOT to do?

When interacting with authorities, always remain calm, do not get angry or attempt to resist in any way. Never sign any papers without first talking to your attorney. Most importantly, never lie or give false information, such as using different names or claiming citizenship. This can destroy any chances you have of getting immigration benefits like a Green Card.

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