Know Your Rights

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Who is at risk of ICE detention or deportation?

  • People without lawful immigration status
  • People with lawful immigration status who have certain criminal priors
  • People present in the US after being ordered removed

If ICE approaches you or you witness an ICE interaction

Try to document everything about your interaction with ICE

  • You can document ICE by taking a photo or writing down what you witnessed after the event.
  • You can film ICE as long as you don’t interfere with their duties and don’t do it in secret
  • If they tell you to stop filming, you do not have to. But you must comply with orders like, “back up,” or risk being arrested.
  • Remember, ICE officers are armed. Be aware of the physical safety of everyone involved.
  • If an ICE officer asks for you to hand over your phone, do not physically resist. Say: I do not consent to giving you my phone. I don’t consent to a search of my phone.”

ICE often uses intimidation and ruses during an arrest

  • Agents often dress in plain clothing and target people while they are on their way to or from work, home, or even court. Sometimes they enter workplaces if there is a public space like a store or restaurant.
  • Agents may call out someone’s name to confirm their identity and may not reveal they are ICE until after the arrest.

There are 3 Main WayS ICE Targets People

Home Raids
  • Beware, ICE often pretends to be the police or uses an illegitimate warrant to gain entrance to the home. If they say they are police, ask them to slip their card under the door before opening it. 
  • ICE needs a judicial or warrant or content to enter a home. This is a judge signed document. Before you open the door, ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door.
  • ICE needs a judicial or warrant or content to search a home.
  • ICE uses intimidation and ruses to prevent people from invoking their rights and to get inside the home. 
  • Some areas just outside the home are protected from ICE.
Traffic Stops
  • If ICE stops your car, it is easiest to pull over, then ask questions to find out if they are ICE officers and why they stopped you. ICE does not need a judicial warrant to stop a car.
  • Ask:
    • “Are you the police?”
    • “Are you highway patrol?”
    • “Are you immigration?”
    • “Why am I being stopped?”
  • If you are the driver, ICE can demand your diver’s license. But you still have the right to remain silent.
  • If you are a passenger, you have the right to remain silent and refuse to give ICE your ID. Say: I do not consent to giving you my documents.

Collateral Arrests
  • When targeting non-citizens for arrest, ICE also arrests non-citizen witnesses who are present.
  • ICE may identify “collaterals” through use of mobile fingerprint devices and racial profiling.
  • Non-citizen witnesses to arrests should be mindful of the risk of talking with ICE about their immigration status.

Things to remember if you are near the border

  • US Border Patrol is part of US Customs & Border Protection (CBP). They don’t just have power at the borders. They can work up to 100 miles away from the border, too – both land and sea.
  • Within 100 miles of the border, Border Patrol can board a bus or train, or pull over your car. They cannot search you or your belongings without “probable cause” or your consent. They cannot use race or ethnicity as a reason to stop you.
  • Border Patrol can enter private property within 25 miles of the border, but they cannot enter your home without a warrant or your consent.
  • Border Patrol can ask you questions about your citizenship at security checkpoints and check the outside of your car. They cannot ask you questions unrelated to your citizenship or force you to speak about your immigration status.
  • At the border, whether on the road or at the airport, border agents can inspect everyone and everything respectfully. They cannot use excessive force or strip searches.
  • In jail or detention, agents can ask you about your immigration, but you have the right to remain silent. They cannot force you to talk or sign anything without the presence of a lawyer.

If you are stopped by a border agent:

  • Document their name and badge number.
  • You are allowed to record video if you are not on government property or at the border.
  • You do not have to help an officer unlock your phone and they must state why they are holding your phone.
  • If an agent approaches you, you can ask: “Am I free to go?”
  • Know that you always have the right to remain silent and speak with a lawyer.



Immigration Defense Project (IDP) 

New York Civil Liberties Union

ACLU Videos


Immigration Defense Project (IDP) 

Videos de ACLU


Immigration Defense Project (IDP) 

ACLU Videos


ACLU Videos