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What do I do if I've been stopped by ICE?

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

If stopped by ICE, stay calm and do not obstruct the officer(s). You have the right to remain silent as well as to speak with your lawyer before answering any questions. The government is not required to appoint you a lawyer. Always carry valid immigration documents with you.


Stay calm and do not resist the agents/officers. Do not lie or give false documents. Have phone numbers of your family and your lawyer memorized and make emergency plans in advance if you have children or take medication. Ask to speak to your lawyer before answering any questions or signing any documents. Always carry with you any valid immigration documents you have, such as a green card or work permit, but not any documents from a foreign country, as these could be used against you in the deportation process.


You have the right to remain silent, and therefore do not have to answer any questions about where you were born, your immigration status, or how you entered the country. If you would like to exercise this right, you must say so out loud. In some states, you may be required to give your name if asked to identify yourself. The ICE officer is allowed to pat you down if they suspect a weapon, but other than this, you have the right to refuse a search and are therefore not required to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings. ICE is only allowed to arrest you in a public space if they have a warrant with your name on it. Ask the officer if you are being arrested or detained. If the officer says no, ask if you are free to leave. If they say yes, calmly walk away. If you have children, let the officer know, as ICE may “exercise discretion” and let you go if you are the parent or primary caregiver of a U.S. citizen/permanent resident who is under the age of 18. If you are detained or arrested, ask to call your lawyer.


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