Many people are worried about immigrant rights under the Trump Presidency. Without getting into the political side of things, it’s important to point out that the constitutional rights that we all have haven’t changed under Trump. It’s the same constitution.
PART 1- YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
Everyone in the United States has Constitutional Rights!
The basic constitutional rights which apply to anyone in the United States- citizen, permanent resident, undocumented include:
I. Right to Remain Silent– You’ve heard it on television and in the movies- “You have the right to remain silent.” Not only is this true, but it’s good advice also! Under the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution, you have the right to remain silent. Regardless of how forcefully or persistently they ask you questions, you do not have to answer questions from either immigration or the police department. Tell them I’m using my right to remain silent. Also, insist on your right to talk to your attorney.
II. Right to remain free from search– Don’t Open the Door unless you see a warrant- Under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches. What this means is that if immigration or the police come to your residence wanting to enter, you don’t have to even open the door until they show you a search warrant.
III. Right to an attorney– While you don’t have the right to a Court appointed attorney in an immigration case, you do have the right to have an attorney present to represent you in proceedings with immigration.
What to do if you are arrested
I. As mentioned above, remain silent. Definitely do not answer any immigration questions about your legal status. Don’t say where you were born. Don’t talk about any criminal history.
II. Don’t sign anything
III. Call family or attorney as soon as you are able to
How to prepare for a possible arrest
I. Maintain good records- Many immigration defenses depend on demonstrating that you have been in the United States for a certain number of years. Keep rental records, utility records and school records
II. Consider preparing a power of attorney document- If you are removed from the country or incarcerated, who would take care of your children, your home or your business. Very important to consider drafting at least a partial power of attorney. Equally important to find a friend or family member that you can trust.