Know Your Rights During an Immigration Raid - Wisconsin Immigration Attorney

By Carlos Gamino

Even if you’re not a U.S. citizen, you still have rights – and it’s important that you know what they are if you’re the victim of an immigration raid. Your rights are the same as those enjoyed by permanent citizens, and they include the right to remain silent when police attempt to question you.

What is an Immigration Raid?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts immigration raids when they believe a business or residence is harboring people who are here without proper documentation.

Common Questions on Immigration Raids

Many people ask us questions about immigration raids and whether they are legal. This quick FAQ may answer some of your questions, but if you’d like to know more, please contact us. We are skilled Milwaukee immigration lawyers, and we will be happy to help.

Am I automatically being arrested during an immigration raid?

ICE agents don’t automatically arrest everyone during an immigration raid. In fact, you have the right to ask an agent if he or she is detaining or arresting you. If the agent says you’re not under arrest, you are free to leave.

What do I say when an ICE agent asks me where I’m from?

If an ICE agent asks about your country of origin or how you came to be in the U.S., you do not have to answer. You can simply state that you would like to speak with your attorney.

Can I be arrested for being undocumented?

If an ICE agent or a law enforcement officer stops you in the street, he or she cannot arrest you for being undocumented unless there is a warrant for your arrest or you are engaged in (or under suspicion of) a crime.

Do I have to sign paperwork that ICE or law enforcement tell me to sign?

Do not sign anything without consulting an attorney. Unfortunately, you may be coerced into signing away your right to a hearing in front of an immigration judge – so please, do not sign anything until your immigration lawyer reads it and ensures that you understand it. Legal terms can be complicated, so it’s best to wait for guidance before you sign anything.

Can I refuse a search of my home?

If law enforcement officers want to come into your home, you have the right to see a warrant that authorizes it. In most cases, it’s best to ask them to slide the warrant underneath the door or slip it through the crack.

If they do not have a warrant, the only way they are allowed to come in is through your consent – and you do not have to give consent. You have the right to refuse a search of your private residence. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which applies to citizens and non-citizens, prohibits this type of intrusion into your home.