ICE Raids: What are Your Rights if Immigration Agents Knock on the Door?

Civil rights groups are urging undocumented migrants living in the U.S. to learn their rights ahead of what are expected to be mass raids across 10 cities carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under a Trump administration crackdown.

"Now more than ever, we need everyone to know: WE HAVE RIGHTS," wrote the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Twitter, before sharing its guide in multiple languages on what to do if an ICE agent shows up at your door.

Beginning on Sunday, a delayed ICE operation to conduct raids on the homes of around 2,000 suspected undocumented migrants will take place over several days and is expected to result in deportations for many as soon as possible, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Other migrants who are not the targets of the raids may also be picked up and deported, according to The Times, and most will be held at controversial detention centers—dubbed "concentration camps" by critics—in either Texas or Pennsylvania before removal from the U.S.

Yesterday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit arguing that those about to be arrested by ICE are constitutionally-entitled to have a "fair day in court" in front of an immigration judge before they are deported. Many have legitimate claims for asylum because they are fleeing violence.

While the Trump administration argues that those subject to the raids did not show up for court dates, and therefore are legitimate targets for deportation, the ACLU claimed many failed to appear because of bureaucratic errors and "deliberate misdirection" by enforcement agencies.

"The Trump Administration's plan to arrest and deport thousands of Central American families and children without giving them a fair day in court is both illegal and immoral," said Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel at the ACLU SoCal, in a statement.

"More than one hundred years ago, the Supreme Court decided that immigrants could not be deported without due process. These vulnerable refugees deserve that basic protection."

The ACLU has a comprehensive guide to immigrants' rights on its website, detailing what raid targets should and should not do if ICE shows up at the door.

"You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents, or other officials. Anything you tell an officer can later be used against you in immigration court," the ACLU warns.

You must, if you are not a U.S. citizen, show an immigration agent your papers if they request to see them. But you have the right to say no if they ask to search you because agents "do not have the right to search you or your belongings without your consent or probable cause."

If police or ICE show up at your home, the ACLU advises you to "stay calm and keep the door closed. Opening the door does not give them permission to come inside, but it is safer to speak to ICE through the door."

Moreover, you have the right to remain silent and you do not have to let police or immigration agents in unless they have the right warrant.

"If police have an arrest warrant, they are legally allowed to enter the home of the person on the warrant if they believe that person is inside. But a warrant of removal/deportation (Form I-205) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent."

For the full guide on what your rights are and what to do in each situation, check out the ACLU website. There is also the resource and another at the Immigration Defense Project.

ICE raids protest immigration rights
People hold up signs as they protest the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and the recent detentions of illegal immigrants in Washington, DC on July 16, 2018. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images