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Know Your Rights and How to Find Legal Help

Every person in the United States has rights. If you are a citizen or an immigrant, or if you are undocumented – you have rights. The constitution protects everyone. Some of your most important rights are the ones you have when you talk to anyone from law enforcement, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

What Are My Rights?

  • You do not have to talk to an immigration officer (ICE) or answer their questions – you can tell them that you want to stay silent.
  • You can ask to talk to a lawyer.
  • You can ask if you are free to leave – if the officer says yes, calmly and slowly leave.
  • You can refuse to sign anything before talking to a lawyer.
  • You do not have to open your door for ICE if they do not have a “warrant.” A warrant is a court order, signed by a judge. If ICE knocks on your door:
    • Ask if they have a warrant, ask them to slide it under the door
    • Check if the information is correct – if your name and address are not correct on the warrant, you can ask them to leave.
    • Check if a judge actually signed the warrant – often ICE uses warrants that are signed by an ICE supervisor. This warrant, does not give ICE permission to come into your house.
  • If you are arrested you have the right to call your family, a lawyer, and your consulate.

Red Cards

Red cards can help you tell an immigration officer that you are using your rights. Show the card to the officer or slide it under the door.

Usted tiene derechos constitucionales.
  • NO ABRA LA PUERTA SI UN AGENTE DE SERVICIO DE INMIGRACION ESTA TOCANDO A LA PUERTA
  • NO CONTESTE NINGUNA PREGUNTA DEL AGENTE DEL SERVICIO DE INMIGRACION SI EL TRATA DE HABLAR CON USTED. Usted tiene derecho a mantenerse callado. No tiene que dar su nombre al agente. Si está en el trabajo, pregunte al agente si está libre para salir y si el agente dice que sí, váyase. Usted tiene derecho de hablar con un abogado.
  • Entregue esta tarjeta al agente. No abra la puerta!

I do not wish to speak with you, answer your questions, or sign or hand you any documents based on my 5th Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.

I do not give you permission to enter my home based on my 4th Amendment rights under the United States Constitution unless you have a warrant, signed by a judge or magistrate with my name on it that you slide under the door. I do not give you permission to search any of my belongings based on my 4th Amendment rights.

I choose to exercise my constitutional rights.
These cards are available to citizens and noncitizens alike.

Things to Remember

  • Stay calm
  • Do not run away
  • Do not answer questions
  • Do not show fake documents
  • Do not sign anything
  • Carry your red card and use it
  • Ask to speak to a lawyer
  • Ask for an interpreter if you are detained or questioned

More Resources

For more information, look at these websites for know your rights material.

Finding Legal Help

You may want to talk to an Immigration Specialist. They can help you figure out the best options for you. Be careful of immigration fraud and scams. Check with an organization you trust before you start any immigration process. See a list of free legal service providers.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created April 2017

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.

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