Detained Immigrant’s Rights. What to do when you are detained by Immigration?
With tensions running high in the United States right now, it is not unlikely that you as an immigrant could possibly be detained by immigration. The important thing to remember is that in this country you have certain rights available to you under the immigration laws of the United States. A lot of how you are treated and what rights are available to you may depend on where you are detained. For instance, if you are arrested or detained at the border or an airport you will have fewer rights than if you were detained at a job or in your own home.
However, no matter where you are detained you must remember to remain calm and follow this advice:
Just as if you were a citizen of this country first off you have the right to remain silent and ask for an attorney
You have the right to receive visits from an attorney if you have been arrested.
Once you are assigned a deportation attorney, write down his name and phone number
However, unlike a US citizen even though you are entitled to an attorney one will not be provided for you by the government. However, You should receive a list of groups who can provide legal advice and perhaps recommend an attorney that would take your case pro bono or at least for a reduced fee
This one is especially important – do not sign anything
If you are to appear before a judge and have not had the opportunity to get advice from a lawyer ask for a continuance
Do not rely on immigration agents or judges to explain your options or give you proper information. Talk to a lawyer first
Never accept “voluntary departure” without communicating with an attorney. Signing an agreement means you sacrifice having a hearing, you will be deported and may never be allowed back to this country under any circumstances
As an immigrant you have the right to call your consulate who may be able to assist in finding a competent attorney
When you finally do get a lawyer be sure to tell him everything even if you have been arrested in the past for other crimes. As of now, you have client attorney privileges. In order to get competent legal advice your lawyer should know everything about your case in order to help you. He has a moral and legal obligation to keep what you tell him between you and him.
Being arrested or detained is not fun no matter who you are but one of the reasons you as an immigrant came to this country is because as immigrants and citizens of the United States we are guaranteed certain inalienable rights. It is important for you to know what they are because this is what freedom is all about.