Rights of Immigrants

This article was produced by CLS, GHLA, NHLAA, and SLS.

Rights of Immigrants

If you feel you are in danger of being picked up by immigration, make a plan for yourself and your family.

Speak to your attorney if you have one.

What can I do if police or immigration stops me on the street?

  • If they ask for your name, you must tell them. You don’t have to answer other questions.
  • You can ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, you may walk away calmly.
  • It is best not to lie, carry false documents, or carry documents from another country with you.

What are my rights if I am arrested?

  • If they ask for your name, you must tell them. You don’t have to answer other questions.
  • You can ask to make a phone call and speak with your lawyer. Memorize the phone number of your lawyer or a family member who is in the United States legally.
  • You do not have to give information about your immigration status.
  • You do not have to sign any documents.

REMEMBER: It is best not to lie, carry false documents, or carry documents from another country with you.

What can I do if immigration comes to my home?

  • You have the right to ask if they have a warrant signed by a judge or a magistrate to enter your home. You don’t have to open the door unless they have a warrant. You have the right to ask to see the warrant before you let them into your home.
  • Sometimes a search warrant will only allow them to search specific areas of your home.
  • An arrest warrant will name the person they are looking for. If they only have an arrest warrant, you do not have to agree to let them to search your home.
  • If they enter your home anyway, you have the right to ask for the names and badge numbers of the officers and say you did not agree to the search.

NOTE: If the police take items from your home, keep a record of what they took and ask for a receipt for the items.

What can I do if immigration comes to my workplace?

  • Do not run. If they are not looking for you, running will make you a target.
  • You must tell them if they ask for your name, but you don’t have to answer other questions.
  • You can ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, you may walk away calmly.

NOTE: Immigration does not need a warrant or permission to enter the public spaces of a business, such as the dining room in a restaurant.  They do need a warrant or permission to enter areas that are not open to the public, such as the kitchen in a restaurant.

You can carry this card with you and hand it to the police or immigration, or slip it under your door if immigration comes to your house:

---------------

I am exercising my constitutional rights.
I do not wish to speak with you.
I will not open the door unless you
have a warrant signed by a judge.

---

Estoy ejerciendo mis derechos constitucionales.
No deseo hablar con usted.
No voy a abrir la puerta a menos que
tenga una orden judicial firmada por un juez.

----------

To learn more about your rights, visit www.immi.org.

Legal help for immigrants

These programs offer free or inexpensive legal services for people with low income:

  • Greater Hartford Legal Aid: 860-541-5000
  • Connecticut Legal Services: 860-225-8678
  • New Haven Legal Assistance: 203-946-4811
  • International Institute: Bridgeport: 203-336-0414; Stamford: 203-965-7190; Hartford: 860-692-3085; Derby: 203-751-8696
  • The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization of Yale Law School: 203-432-4800
  • University of Connecticut School of Law, Asylum and Human Rights Clinic: 860-570-5165
  • Immigration Advocates Network, www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory
  • For referral to an attorney in private practice contact the American Immigration Lawyers Association: 800-954-0254 or www.AILA.org.

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