Know Your Rights - What To Do In Case Of An Immigration Raid

On Monday July 1, 2019, President Donald Trump announced that after the Fourth of July holiday, his administration intends to carry out the immigration raids he threatened in June.  According to his June threats, Trump intends to target about 2,000 undocumented immigrant families in the following 10 cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.

Though we hope these threats will not become reality, union members and their families should be prepared with knowledge about their constitutional rights.  There are certain rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution that all people, regardless of immigration status, are entitled to. 

Here are some important rights to remember as we enter the holiday weekend:

  1. Right to Remain Silent:  When being questioned by a law enforcement officer, you have the right to remain silent.  This means that if the police or immigration authorities arrive at your workplace or home, or stop you driving a vehicle or on the street, you have the right to remain silent when questioned.  This includes if you are asked questions about your immigration status, country of origin, how you entered the United States, or related questions.  Should you decide to exercise this right, you should tell the officer out loud.  Anything you do or say can be used against you later in court.
  1. Right to An Attorney: If you are arrested, you have the right to an attorney.  When being questioned by an officer, you can ask if you are being arrested.  If the officer says you are being arrested, you may remain silent and demand to speak to your attorney immediately.  If the officer answers that you are not being arrested, you can ask whether you are free to leave.  If the officer says you are free to leave, you should leave calmly, without arguing or obstructing the officer.  You cannot be forced to sign anything you do not want to sign, and should ask to speak to your attorney first, if you have one.
  1. Right to Not Consent to A Search: If an officer asks to search your person, car, or home, you can refuse to consent to the search.  If you allow an officer to enter your home, this could be viewed as consent to search your home.  An officer may “pat” you down if they suspect you have a weapon, but you do not have to give consent.
  1. Right to See a Search Warrant: In order to search a home, an officer must have a warrant signed by a Judge.  You have a right to see that search warrant, which is a paper that specifies the address, the areas, and the items that can be searched.  You can refuse to open the door, and ask for the warrant to be passed under the door or through the window.  If the officer searches places in your home that are not listed on the warrant, make a note of where, and remember you have a right not to consent to the search and to tell the officer(s) that you do not consent.
  1. Right to A Phone Call: When you are arrested, you have the right to make a phone call.

Here are some additional steps that you can take to be prepared for a raid:

  1. Make a plan.  If you are a parent you may want to obtain written authorization for another adult to care for your child(ren) in the event you are detained. Here is a helpful link to a model plan by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center: https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/kyr_two_pager.pdf
  1. Write it Down.  If you are stopped, searched, and/or arrested, find out who the officers are and their identifying information.  Ask for the names and badge numbers of the officers involved and write that down.  Badge numbers are also visible on an officer’s uniform.  If others are present during your interaction with the officer(s), write down the witness’ names.  If the officer goes beyond the search warrant in your home, write down where the officer searched that was not listed on the warrant.
  1. Know Your “A Number.”  If you have an “Alien Registration Number” or “A Number,” make sure you know it and that your family members know it.  You may want to write it down and tell your family where to find it if necessary.  The “A Number” could become necessary to locate you if you are detained by immigration.
  1. Keep Important Information With You.  You may want to memorize the phone numbers of a reliable immigration attorney, your Union representative, and a family member in case you need to call them.
  1. Talk to Your Co-Workers and/or Union Representative.  In the event of a raid in your workplace, try to be prepared ahead of time.  You and your co-workers should speak with your Union Representative about how to collectively respond to a raid.  You may want to collectively pressure management not to give immigration authorities permission to enter the workplace, and/or to tell the Union Representative immediately when immigration has given notice that the workplace will be visited by immigration officers.  You and co-workers may also agree not to panic and run if a raid happens.

If you think you are a witness to potential ICE activity, verify information before posting on social media. If you directly witnessed ICE activity, call a rapid response hotline for your County.  A list of networks by County is available here: https://ccij.sfbar.org/california-rapid-response-networks/. These networks monitor ICE activity and provide updates with respect to enforcement and arrests.

Here are additional helpful links to Know Your Rights materials by various organizations:

By Tiffany Crain Altamirano | July 3, 2019

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