What Should I Do if I am Stopped or Arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Under the Obama Administration, more people were arrested and deported than any other United States President until now. Under the Trump Administration, immigration arrests are up 39% with over 65,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests currently in 2017.
A detention or arrest by ICE is a critical point in a respondent’s immigration case. If you are not aware, you could be waiving certain rights that could hurt your immigration case.
If you are detained or arrested by ICE, here are a few things you should consider:
You Have Rights
Not every legal permanent resident, immigrant, or undocumented alien realizes that they have legal rights under the United States Constitution. You do. This issue has been decided for well over a century. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 6 S. Ct. 1064 (1886). In that case, the United States Supreme Court held that the due process clause under the 5th and 14th Amendments of the Constitution applied to everyone; including illegal aliens.
Therefore, you must first be confident that you have constitutional rights. Then, you must be confident enough to use them.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Under the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution, just like a United States citizen, you have the right to remain silent. That means if you are detained or arrested by ICE for any reason, you are not obligated to respond to any of the officer’s questions.
In fact, answering some of the questions can be used against you during removal proceedings. Questions related to your nationality, date of entry into the United States, fear of returning to your home country, and admissions to criminal acts can all be used against you in a future removal hearing.
You can answer basic information such as giving the officer your name, date of birth, address, etc. However, you should remain silent if questioned about details of your removal case or any pending criminal case. You can politely tell the officer that you would be more comfortable answering those questions in the presence of an attorney.
Do Not Lie about Your Immigration Status
While you have the right to remain silent during an ICE detention or arrest, you should never lie or misrepresent your immigration status to an officer. Misrepresenting yourself as a United States citizen is one of the most serious immigration violations.
This type of misrepresentation will result in automatic deportation from the United States and will bar you from obtaining almost every type of immigration relief.
You Should Not Sign (Almost) Anything
ICE agents will often try to get you to sign paperwork relating to your removal case. In the past, respondents have repeatedly alleged threats, coercion, and even physical abuse in order to gain signatures on documents. Signing the wrong document could be fatal to your removal case.
ICE agents are notorious for attempting to get respondents in removal proceedings to sign a form accepting “expedited removal”. With the exception of acknowledging you received service of the notice to appear in removal proceedings, you should almost never sign anything from ICE without consulting an immigration attorney first.
Do Not Run From the Police
Many desperate aliens decide to run from the police or resist arrest. This is a poor decision for several reasons. First, rarely do aliens succeed in escaping a detention/arrest by ICE.
Secondly, if you run from the police or resist arrest, you can be charged with resisting arrest. If you are charged with resisting arrest with violence, you could be convicted of an aggravated felony and be sentenced to imprisonment for a year or more.
An aggravated felony conviction would bar you from obtaining virtually any type of immigration relief in your removal case.
Find an Attorney for ICE Detention in Miami, FL
If you or someone you know was detained or arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami-Dade County, it is imperative that you understand your rights under the law and act accordingly. Before speaking with the police or signing a statement, contact an experienced criminal defense and immigration attorney.
Call (305) 615-5945 to schedule a no obligations consultation with Attorney E.J. Hubbs.