Regardless of your immigration status, you have guaranteed rights under the Constitution. Learn more here about your rights as an immigrant, and how to express them. For information on interactions with police, click here. This information is not intended as legal advice.
If you are stopped by police or immigration agents:
- You have a right to remain silent. If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer.
- Stay calm. Don't run. Don't argue, resist, or obstruct the police. Keep your hands where police an see them.
- Ask if you're free to leave. If yes, calmly and silently walk away.
- You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings.
If you are stopped in your car
- Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way, and place your hands on the wheel.
- Upon request, show police your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.
- If an officer or immigration agent asks to search your car, you can refuse. But if police believe your car constains evidence of a crime, they can search it without your consent.
- Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you're a passenger, you can ask if you're free to leave. If yes, silently leave.
If you're asked about your immigration status:
- You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you're a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country. (Separate rules apply at international borders and airports, and for individuals on certain nonimmigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers.)
- If you're not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them. If you're over 18, carry your immigratio documents with you at all times. If you do'nt have immigration papers, say you want to remain silent.
- Do not lie about your citizenship status or provide fake documents.
If you're arrested by police:
- Do not resist.
- Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. If you can't afford a lawyer, you have the right to a free one.
- Don't say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer.
- You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer.
- Don't discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.
- An immigration officer may visit you in jail. Do not answer questions or sign anything before talking to a lawyer.
- Read all papers fully. If you don't understand or cannot read the papers, say you need an interpreter.
If you're taken into immigration (or ICE) custody:
- You have the right to a lawyer, but the government will not provide one. If you don't have a lawyer, ask for a list of free or low-cost legal services.
- You have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer inform the consulate of your arrest.
- Tell the immigration officer you wish to remain silent. Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.
- Do not sign anything, such as a voluntary departure or stipulated removal, without talking to a lwyer. If you sign, you may be giving up your opportunity to try to stay in the U.S.
- Know your immigration number ("A" number) and give it to your family. It will help them locate you.
If you feel your rights have been violated:
- Write down everything you remember, including officers' badges and patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other details. Get contact information for witnesses. If you're injured, seek medical attention immeidately and take photographs of your injuries.
- File a written complaint with the agency's internal affairs division or civilian complaint board. In most cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish.