As an immigrant, you may get stopped by the police and questioned about your immigration status. You may even be arrested. Here’s what you can do to deescalate a situation with the police and how to get help if you’ve been detained.
Keep Your Immigration Papers With You
If you are over 18, you should keep your immigration papers on your person to provide to police or immigration (ICE) agents. If you are the parent of a minor child, you should keep their papers on your person. If you have your papers and police ask to see them, you must show them to the officer. If you don’t have your papers with you, you should not answer any questions.
Remain Calm and Do Not Resist
It’s extremely important that you remain calm and do not resist if you are being questioned or arrested by law enforcement officers. Police officers may attempt to escalate the situation, and if you argue or fight, you could be charged with resisting arrest even if the original reason you were arrested or detained falls through.
Remain Silent and Do Not Answer Police Questions
Immigrants also have the right to remain silent and do not have to answer any questions asked by police beyond providing their identifying information. You should not speak to police officers beyond what is required by law to protect yourself and your family’s safety. Instead, politely decline to answer their questions or simply say, “no comment.”
Do Not Consent to a Search
The police do not have the right to search your person or your property without a warrant, probable cause, or your permission. You should never offer your permission and should ask to see the warrant if they have one.
The police may have probable cause if there is enough readily available evidence that suggests a crime may have occurred. If the police do not have a warrant, you should be very clear that you don’t consent to a search. However, do not argue or fight if your person or home is searched against your will. Continue to maintain your silence after letting officers know that you do not consent to the search.
Contact an Immigration Lawyer
If you’re an immigrant who has been arrested or questioned by the police, it’s important that you know and protects your rights. Contact experienced Texas Immigration Lawyer Eluid Zavala for a consultation to discuss your case in detail at 713-766-6720.