KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. What to do when U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement Comes Knocking

The United States Constitution guarantees basic rights to everyone in United States regardless of their immigration status. It is important to understand what these rights are so that you can respond appropriately.


Your home has special protections that being out in public does not carry. When ICE comes knocking at your door, know you have the following rights:

You do not have to open your door: Do not open the door if an immigration agent is at your door. You are not required to open the door to your home or apartment unless the officer has a valid arrest or search warrant. Ask the officer to slide the warrant under the door or through a window.

A valid search warrant must have the following:

Must be signed by a judge – not an immigration official

The address they are going to search

The areas, in particular, they are searching

What they are looking for

A valid arrest warrant must have the following:

Must be signed by a judge – not an immigration official

The name of the person they are looking for

The person must reside at that address listed in the warrant

The person must be present at that address

The ICE officer will normally have a deportation warrant

A deportation warrant is not the same as an arrest or a search warrant. If the ICE office has only a deportation warrant, they cannot legally come into your home unless you verbally let them in. You do not need to let them in to speak with them. You can speak with them through the door. Or if you choose to, you may step outside, close the door and speak to them. ICE cannot force a landlord to open the house for them if you have refused to do so due to an invalid warrant.

If ICE has a valid warrant or enters your home without your consent

Stay calm

Contact an immigration attorney right away

You have the right to remain silent

  • Tell the Officers that you are exercising your right to remain silent.

  • You may refuse to answer any questions asked including where you were born or how you entered the United States

  • You may refuse to show any documents identifying what country you are from

  • If you choose to speak, do not lie

  • If you choose to produce documents, do not produce false documents

  • Advise ICE that you will not sign any documents without talking to your lawyer

If you are detained or taken into custody, you have the following rights:

The right to speak to an attorney

If you don’t have an attorney, advise the ICE agents that you wish to speak to one. Ask them for a list of pro bono lawyers, if you cannot afford to hire one. You also have the right to contact your consulate. They may assist you in obtaining a lawyer.

If you have an attorney, you have the right to talk to them. If you have a signed Form G-28 which shows you have an attorney, give it to the officer.

Advice the ICE agents that you will not sign any documents without talking to your lawyer. If you choose to sign any documents without speaking to a lawyer, be sure you understand what you the document means before you sign it.

Immigration Lawyer Ifeoma Odunlami in Morristown, NJ

Contact Odunlami Law Firm to learn more about your rights or if you might be eligible for immigration benefits or relief: (973) 993 1900


Schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney and get your case started today.
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