FOR EMPLOYEES: If You Encounter Immigration Agents
March 15, 2017
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER IMMIGRATION AGENTS AT WORK OR AT HOME
U.S. federal immigration officers have the right to ask an employer for permission to enter a workplace. Every worker in the U.S. must fill out a Form I-9, providing documentation of their authorization to work lawfully in the U.S. Federal immigration officers have the right to examine an employer’s files to inspect these I-9 forms. After immigration officers enter a workplace — whether it is a store, a restaurant, a farm, an orchard, etc. — they may ask you questions. However, you have the right to refuse to speak to the immigration agents and can remain silent and request to speak to an attorney.
If you encounter an immigration agent at the workplace, at your home or anywhere in between, the following rights and guidelines apply:
- You have the right to keep silent. If you are questioned by an immigration officer, you do not have to tell the officer your name, where you were born, or what your immigration status is.
- You have the right to talk with a lawyer before you answer any questions. You may want to give the officer your name so that your family or lawyer can locate you if you are detained.
- You do not have to “show your papers.” You may simply tell the officer that you want to speak with a lawyer. Even if you have valid immigration papers, immigration officers may still ask you additional questions.
- You have the right to refuse to let an immigration officer enter your home, unless they present you with an official search warrant signed by a judge. You have the right to ask any officer if they have such a warrant. You may refuse to open the door and request that they slide the warrant under the door for you to inspect. If they show you a signed search warrant with your specific address on it, you are required to let them enter your home.
- You may remain silent and refuse to let an immigration officer enter your home, even if the officer shows you a signed removal/deportation warrant with your name on it, issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If you choose, you may come out and close the door behind you. This should prevent immigration officers from questioning other people in your home unless they are listed on a warrant.
AT WORK OR AT HOME
- REMEMBER, you have the right to remain silent and you may request to talk to an attorney.
- IF YOU ARE DETAINED, you have the right to contact your home country consulate. You also have the right to contact and speak with a lawyer.
- Never lie about your citizenship status or provide fake documents. If you do, you can face a lifetime bar from the United States.
- Do not sign any papers without talking to a lawyer. Do not let any immigration officer persuade you to sign any papers by threatening that you will remain in jail or be deported if you do not sign. If you sign any papers at all, you could be giving up any chance of staying in the U.S.