Help Immigrants Know Their Rights

Immigrants in Charlotte are anxious about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency doing raids here in Charlotte.  Perhaps you know some immigrants who are afraid to leave their homes for fear of ICE.  With ICE Raids happening, what should undocumented immigrants do?  AIR is asking its members to share this knowledge with any undocumented immigrant you may know. 

According to the national “We Have Rights” campaign, being led by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Brooklyn Defenders Services, the  warning is, “do not open the door… no matter what they say.”  The videos warn that ICE may lie, claim to be the police investigating a crime, or show official-looking but invalid documents. But, without a warrant signed by a judge, the videos say, ICE has no authority to enter or search a home.

The videos include animated, instructional videos based on four real-life scenarios: 1) what to do when ICE comes to your door; 2) when ICE is in your home; 3) when ICE stops people in the street; and 4) when ICE arrests someone.  The videos are available in seven different languages, each voiced by a prominent activist or actor, including Diane Guerrero (Spanish), Kumail Nanjiani (Urdu), Linda Sarsour (Arabic), Edwidge Danticat (Creole), Xiren Wang (Mandarin), Katya Lee (Russian) and Jesse Williams (English).

Ben Snyder a Charlotte immigration attorney adds this information to the videos.

  1. When ICE agents show up at people’s homes, they normally have administrative warrants signed by ICE officials. Administrative warrants do not grant entry into homes. Judicial warrants signed by judges grant entry. 9 times out of 10, ICE doesn’t have judicial warrants. You don’t have to open the door for them. You can ask them to slide the paper under the door or just don’t answer at all.
  2. ICE officers don’t have standardized uniforms, so you can see them in anything from construction wear to normal civilian clothing. If they’re wearing a police uniform, one way to differentiate them from local law enforcement is by looking for a badge number. They won’t have them. Also, local law enforcement officers are required to identify themselves if you ask for their name and badge number (ICE can’t do this because they don’t have numbers).
  3. Anyone working for the federal government (including ICE) is required by law to drive American-made vehicles. So, you’ll see them in Chevy, Dodge, Jeep, or Ford. Most of the time the windows are heavily tinted.
  4. ICE doesn’t have the authority to pull anyone over because they aren’t authorized to enforce traffic laws. However, they do strategically place ICE checkpoints near DUI checkpoints and if you’re already pulled over, they have the right to approach you. (You still don’t have to answer any questions they ask you).
  5. Remain silent. You only have to give your name. You do not have to answer any other questions. DO NOT LIE! Say nothing or say, “I need to speak with a lawyer first.”
  6. Do NOT sign any papers without talking with a lawyer first. Even, if an officer may try to scare or trick you.
  7. Anyone stopped by ICE agents has the right to remain silent, the right to refuse consent to a search, the right to consult with a lawyer (though government-appointed lawyers are not provided to civil immigration detainees), and the right to refuse to answer questions about citizenship or immigration history.
  8. Do not give any information about where you were born, how you came here, or your immigration status. By giving this information, you may help the government deport you faster!
  9. After ICE leaves write down everything that happened as best you can remember.

To watch the four “We Have Rights” videos click HERE

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