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Know Your Rights: How Can I Protect Myself if Immigration Comes to My House or Workplace?

Continuing with our tips for immigrants that are looking to protect themselves in the event of ICE – the Immigration and Customs Enforcement – comes looking for them, we now publish the second part below, take from The “National Immigration Law Center” article written in 2008, but that remains really relevant to this day, thanks to the increased crackdown on Immigration ordered by the new President of the United States.

Again, this has caused a lot of confusion among immigrants, so we continue our series by publishing here the excerpt found on the original article about how you can protect yourself (and your family) if Immigration comes to your house or workplace.

How can I protect myself if Immigration comes to my house?

If you hear that Immigration has been asking questions about you at your job or if you learn that Immigration is conducting an investigation at your job, it is possible that officers may show up at your house.

  • Make sure that someone you trust knows where you are, and that you know how to reach them in case of an emergency (if you have been detained by Immigration).
  • You and your family or close friends should have the names and phone numbers of good immigration attorneys posted near the telephone at home so that they can call the attorney in case you are detained.
  • In general, it is also a good idea to keep a copy of your important papers (birth certificate, any immigration papers, etc.) at the home of a friend or relative whom you trust and can call in case you are detained.

What should I do if Immigration comes to my workplace?

Immigration officers are not allowed to enter your workplace — whether it is a factory, store, high rise, farm, or orchard — without permission from the owner or manager. If an officer does get permission, the officer is free to ask you questions about your immigration status.

  • You have a right to keep silent. In most states, you don’t even have to tell the agent your name. Although you may want to provide your name only so your family or attorney can locate you.
  • You also have the right to talk to a lawyer before you answer any questions. You can tell the officer, “I wish to talk to a lawyer,” in response to any question the officer asks you.
  • You do not need tell the immigration officer where you were born or what your immigration status is.
  • You do not have to show the officer your papers or any immigration documents. If the officer asks you for your papers, tell the officer, “I wish to talk to a lawyer.”

What can my union do?

If you belong to a labor union, there are ways it can help you. You should talk to your union representative about your concerns. If it would make you feel more comfortable, ask some of your co-workers to go with you to talk to your representative. Your union contract might have language that protects union members, such as an agreement with the employer that has one or more of the following provisions:

  • The employer will not allow any Immigration officers to enter the workplace without a valid warrant signed by a federal judge or magistrate
  • The employer will immediately notify the union if the Immigration authorities contact the employer for any purpose so that the union can take steps to inform its members about their legal rights or to help them obtain legal assistance.
  • The employer will allow lawyers or community advocates brought by the union to interview employees in as private a setting as possible in the workplace. The union might also have a legal plan, which provides workers with immigration attorneys.
  • The employer agrees not to reveal the names, addresses, or immigration status of any employees to Immigration, unless required by law.
  • The employer will not participate in any computer verification of employees’ immigration or work authorization status.

Again, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will gladly help you out.

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Thomas & Thomas

Tri-State Area Immigration, Criminal Defense, Family and Injury Law Firm. Accessible, Responsive Legal Help at Your Service. We provide our clients with protection: legal, immigration and financial. If you need a criminal defense, personal injury, work injury, family or immigration attorney in the Tri-State area, we would like to speak with you. Any of these legal issues can threaten your freedoms and your livelihood. You need proactive, dedicated legal counsel to secure the best possible resolution to the problems you face. We speak Spanish, Portuguese and French.

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