Immigration has always been a touchy subject in the United States. If you currently live in the United States but not a citizen of the country, you might be at risk of a visit from immigration agents. Regardless of whether you entered the country legally or not, the point of this article is not to cast judgment but rather to provide you with the information you need to protect yourself in the event that Uncle Sam comes knocking. Here are a few tips courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that you should follow if immigration officers unexpectedly show up at your residence.
You Might Not Have to Open the Door
If agents knock on your door and they do not have a warrant to enter, you do not have to open your door. Ask to see the warrant before you comply. If a warrant is not shown to you, it is likely safer to talk to the agents through the closed door. If you do not speak the same language as fluently as the agents, you have the right to ask them for an interpreter before moving forward.
Opening the Door is Not Permission to Enter
If for whatever reason you do decide to open the door, it's important to communicate to the agents before you open it that an open door is not the same as permission to enter the home if they don't have a warrant.
The Warrant Should Be From a Judge
Speaking of that warrant, you should ask to see it and make sure it is signed by a judge. That is the only type of warrant that you have to legally comply with. Sometimes immigration agents will show up with internal paperwork and claim it's the same as a warrant. If the piece of paper is not signed by a judge, it is not a warrant, and they do not have the right to enter unless you give permission.
If the Agents Enter Anyway, Don't Resist
If you have followed the above guidelines but the agents decide to force their way into your home without a warrant, it's important to keep your emotions in check. You can verbally announce that they do not have permission to be in the house but don't physically attack anyone. It could be helpful if there is someone else nearby to record the activity as it happens.
Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
If you think you might be at risk of a visit from immigration agents, you should start looking at local immigration law attorneys just in case. Then, if the agents do illegally enter your home and seize you or someone else, you will have legal recourse to address and fix the situation.
For more information, contact a company like The Ortiz Law Firm.