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Approached by ICE? Here’s what you need to know.

Interacting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers can be an intimidating and challenging experience for non-citizens living in the United States. The administration’s immigration policies have been in a state of flux since early 201, casting worry and doubt for those affected by changing immigration laws and policies.

If you’re a non-citizen living in Texas, regardless of documentation or status, it’s important to know your rights when interacting with ICE and other law enforcement officers. The best advice is to speak with an immigration attorney, but here are a few additional reminders in case immigration officers approach you or a loved one.

Say what you need to, nothing more

An officer can't force a person to answer questions, particularly without a lawyer present. It may be in your best interest to remain compliant with an officer’s requests, but that doesn’t mean you have to answer burdensome and interrogatory questions.

Remember a few important things you should say when speaking to a law enforcement officer about your immigration status:

  1. Do you have a warrant? If approached by an officer in public or if they come to your home, ask to see a warrant for the search or potential arrest. If they have a warrant, ask to see it and check for a judge’s signature at the top certifying the warrant.
  2. I have my paperwork. Non-citizens must show officers their relevant immigration paperwork if requested. It may be beneficial to carry your relevant visa, work authorization or green card at all times to ensure you can provide this information when asked. As an important note, never present fraudulent or faked documentation.
  3. Im going to call my lawyer. When approached by law enforcement and immigration officials, it’s important to have a lawyer’s contact information on hand to assist with the situation. Even if you’ve never spoken to an attorney, write down or keep in your phone the number of a Houston-based immigration law expert.

Resist the urge to be combative with immigration officials. It can be frightening and challenging to get through, but you can do it by remembering some important notes. While it’s a wise choice to remain civil with officers, you don’t have to take mistreatment or abuses of power from immigration officials.

There’s no guaranteed successful way to get through an interaction with ICE or other law enforcement. The most important thing to remember is that you have rights and a skilled immigration lawyer will work to ensure proper treatment and recognition of your rights. With some preparation and awareness, interactions with immigration officers can be manageable and turn out successfully for non-citizens.

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