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What To Do if ICE Agents Come to Your Home

When faced with complex immigration issues, speaking with an attorney is always recommended. However, in situations where deportation is an urgent matter, it is important to understand your rights and also understand what steps to follow to ensure your safety.

We are looking to ensure our current and potential clients are equipped with the right knowledge to protect themselves. Not quite sure what to do if ICE agents come to your home? Follow our four-step guide to ensure the safety of your and your family before contacting an immigration or deportation lawyer in New York.

1.   Ask why they are there.

First, stay calm. If someone you do not know knocks on your door, keep the door closed. While opening the door does not automatically give the officers a right to enter your home, it is best to speak with them through the door.

Ask them who they are and ask them to identify themselves with badges that display full names. After they have identified themselves, you may ask them calmly why they are there. If they do not speak your language, you have the right to ask for an interpreter.

2.   Ask to see a signed warrant from a judge (if they don't have one, you are not obligated to let them in).

For an ICE agent to enter your home without your permission, they must have a signed warrant from a judge. It is very important to note that this is not an administrative warrant of removal from immigration authorities, which is not sufficient enough to enter your home or remove you from the premises.

If the officers have a warrant, politely ask them to slip it under the door, and verify it for yourself. To do this, look at the top of the warrant and at the signature to verify that it was issued by a court and signed by a judge. If it was issued by DHS or ICE and signed by a DHS or ICE employee, then you have no obligation to allow the officers to enter your home or speak with them any further.

It is also important to make sure the warrant specifically states your correct name and your correct address.

3. Don't resist.

If the warrant is not as stated above, you do not have to allow the officers to enter and no further discussion is needed. Simply state, "I do not consent to your entry" and request that the officers please leave your property.

In some instances, officers have been known to force their way into a home. If this occurs, do not resist under any circumstances. It is better to exercise your right to remain silent and state again, "I do not consent to your entry or your search of my property. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I would like to speak with a lawyer."

4. You have the right to remain silent.

Remaining silent is part of your legal rights and will protect you against providing potentially negative evidence while the officers are present. Remaining silent is always a better idea than providing false information or trying to argue with the ICE officers.

Do not provide false documents or false information if ICE officers have forced entry into your house. Remain calm, silent, and cooperative and contact your attorney or immigration legal service provider as soon as you have the chance. You have the right to speak to an attorney. You may refuse to sign any paperwork until you have the chance to speak to an attorney. Do not sign anything unless you understand exactly what the document says.

Know Your Rights

Regardless of your immigration status in the United States, you are still allowed the basic human rights of life, liberty, and due process of the law. Knowing your rights will help protect you and your family when faced with complex immigration issues. If you're still not sure, contact us today to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Gordon Landefeld