What to Do if the Police, Immigration or Other Authorities Stop You

You have the right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures.


You have rights as a pedestrian.
What to do if you are approached by the police or immigration agents on the street:

1. You have the constitutional right to remain silent. You have the right to remain silent even if you are asked questions about your immigration status. They cannot arrest you without "probable cause" (a good reason to believe you have committed an offense). Always remember that you have the constitutional right to remain silent, regardless of your immigration status.

2. It's not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer might make the police suspicious about you.

What to do if you are asked to identify yourself:

If you have valid identification that does not reveal your immigration status, then show it.
If you think your name or the documents in your possession will place you at risk for arrest, then say you choose to remain silent, and don't show them anything until you speak with a lawyer. Presenting fraudulent documentation is a federal offense and will result in your arrest.

3. If you are approached on the street by an immigration official, the FBI or police, you MUST ask if you are free to go. Ask them, "Am I under arrest or am I free to go?" If they say that you are not being arrested, then you are free to walk away.

4. If you are told that you are under arrest, then you have the right to ask why you are being arrested. Tell the police officer or immigration agent that you do not want to answer any questions until you speak with an attorney.


You have rights in your car.
What to do if the police, immigration or other officials stop you in your car:

1. The officer must have "probable cause" (a good reason that criminal activity or traffic violation is happening) to stop the car, but they may stop the car in a routine stop.

2. You should never drive without a valid driver's license.

3. If you are driving and you are stopped, then you must show your driver's license, proof of registration and insurance.

4. You do not have to answer questions about your immigration status or any other questions. If asked, tell the officer you wish to remain silent.

5. You do not have to allow the police to search your car unless they have probable cause (a good reason that there is criminal activity happening). If they ask, DO NOT let them search the car because they can legally search the car with your consent.


You have rights in your home.
What to do if immigration agents, the police or housing inspectors come to you house:

1. Do NOT let anyone from the government (police, immigration or housing inspectors) in your house without a warrant (an official authorization).

2. If there is a warrant, ASK TO SEE IT, but do not open the door.

3. When you see the warrant, make sure that your name and address are on the warrant.

4. If there is a warrant from an immigration officer, then you have the right to not allow the officers in your home. GO OUTSIDE to see the officers, especially if there are other people in the house with immigration problems.

5. If the officers do NOT have a warrant, then do NOT let them into your house.

6. If they enter your house without a warrant, then make it clear that you do not consent to the search.

7. ALWAYS get the names of the officers and their badge numbers if you can.


You have rights when you are at work.
What to do if immigration agents come to your place of work:

1. Immigration officers are not allowed to check your work records or documents at your job without a warrant.

2. If an immigration officer approaches you at work, you do not have to answer any questions. Tell the officer that you wish to remain silent and if the officer asks you for your papers, tell the officer that you wish to speak with your lawyer.

3. If you are a member of a union, your union should let you know if immigration officials are coming to look for you.


You have the right to solicit for work.

1. You have the right to talk about work or to look for work with a contractor or anyone else in a public space protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2. You have the right to stand and gather on public property as long as you are obeying the law and not blocking street traffic or creating a safety problem for yourself, other pedestrians or drivers.

3. You DO NOT have the same right to solicit for work on private property and could be arrested for trespassing, which would have criminal or financial penalties.

4. Here are some tips for avoiding contact with law enforcement:

Keep the sidewalk clean of trash.
Always leave space for passers-by on sidewalks.
Be respectful of those around you.
Make sure that you abide by all pedestrian laws, cross the street in designated areas and do not stand in the street and block traffic.


You have rights if you are detained by immigration authorities.

1. Remember that you have the right to remain silent and do not have to answer any questions until you speak with an attorney.

2. You have a right to an attorney, but the government will not pay for the attorney. Immigration officials must show you a list of free or low-cost legal service.

3. Do not sign any paper unless you have spoken with an attorney. Do not sign any paper if you are unsure about the contents of the paper. You have a right to a translator.

4. If you have not already been ordered deported, you may have a right to a hearing before an immigration judge.

5. If you have a right to a hearing, then you have a right to know the charges filed against you and you have a right to contest these charges.

6. You have the right to speak with your consulate.


MY RIGHTS CARD

I am giving you this card because I do not wish to speak to you or have any further contact with you. I choose to exercise my right to remain silent and to refuse to answer your questions. If you arrest me, I will continue to exercise my right to remain silent and to refuse to answer your questions. I want to speak to a lawyer before answering your questions. published by American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey www.aclu-nj.org In our region contact: CNY Civil Liberties Union (315) 471-2821, director@cnyclu.org.